Barcelona broke a 27-year-old Spanish record by going 35 games unbeaten in all competitions with a 5-1 thrashing of nine-man Rayo Vallecano. Lionel Messi scored a hat-trick – his 35th – as the hosts fell apart after Ivan Rakitic’s opener. Diego Llorente and Manuel Iturra were both dismissed for Rayo, whose only goal was scored by Manucho. Luis Suarez also had a penalty saved before Arda Turan completed the rout to move Barcelona eight points clear.
Arda Turan’s goal was his first for Barcelona. Atletico are second in La Liga, with Zinedine Zidane’s Real Madrid 12 points behind the leaders in third. Suarez’s miss from the spot means Barcelona have failed to convert half of their 18 penalties this season. Messi has scored 33 goals this season and now has as many hat-tricks as Real Madrid rival Cristiano Ronaldo. “I’m pleased with how the season has progressed,” said Enrique. “There is attitude, intensity and finishing. When Barca manages to be like that, you create danger from the first minute and it’s hard to stop them.”