Lionel Messi warned Barcelona that La Liga’s title race is not yet over after his 50th career hat-trick inspired a 4-2 win at Sevilla.
The Catalans twice fell behind at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan thanks to goals from Jesus Navas and Gabriel Mercado, but Messi put them 3-2 ahead before setting up Luis Suarez for a late fourth.
It was the 44th time Messi has scored three goals in a game for Barca and the 50th overall, while the result moved Ernesto Valverde’s side 10 points clear at the top of the table, having played a game more than second-place Atletico Madrid.
However, the Argentina star does not believe Atleti or Real Madrid can be considered out of contention for the title.
“No, because there is a long way to go,” he told beIN SPORTS. “But it was really important to win because of what it means to win here and to keep our distance ahead of our rivals.
“Now more than ever, you have to use your head. Every time, it becomes more difficult to win, so we go away happy.
“We know what this ground is and what players they have. It was a difficult match for us but we were able to move forward.
“You can’t always play at a great level. We’ve gone through a run in which we didn’t play our best football. When the game flows, things come by themselves. We played great football and the goals came.”