Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi inspire Barcelona to big win over Espanyol

Alba got in on the act with a splendid driven effort into the bottom right corner before David Lopez pulled a goal back for the visitors with a composed finish.

"I would have preferred that, rather than scoring the second goal myself, Messi could have finished it after his great piece of play".

Less than two minutes later, Barcelona took the lead as a sensational pass from Andres Iniesta sent Suarez through on goal and the Uruguay worldwide made no mistake as he slotted the ball past the onrushing Diego Lopez. But in the week when Cristiano Ronaldo ended his dream 2016 by winning back the Ballon d'Or and scoring a hat trick to become a world champion again, Messi left a reminder that he is heading into the New Year in ominous form.

Despite Luis Suarez's brace, it was Lionel Messi's magical run that caught the eye.

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The Real Sociedad coach on Friday received recognition thanks to the sensational streak of results with the team, including victory against Atletico Madrid (2-0) and a draw with Barcelona (1-1), reports Efe.

Suarez scored twice while Messi's minute of magic in the second half put Barca out of sight, before the Argentinian wrapped up a 4-1 win in the last minute.

Despite Barca's upturn in form in recent weeks, Real Madrid still maintain a firm grip on the title race as they also have a game in hand to go with their three-point lead.

Neymar returns from suspension for Barcelona's clash against Espanyol.

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He repeated yet another exhilarating run within a minute after that to help Jordi Alba score past the goalkeeper as well.

Messi completed his masterclass performance with a well-deserved goal, poking in through the legs of Roberto from Suarez's lobbed pass.

However, they will confronted by an Espanyol side that have conceded in just two of their last nine league outings to shoot up the table and to within just four points of the Champions League places.

Lionel Messi has scored 15 goals against Espanyol in La Liga, more than any other player in the history of the Catalan derby.

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