Published: Wed, September 13, 2017
Culture | By Stewart Greene

Messi hat trick puts Barca in Liga lead as Madrid draws

Messi hat trick puts Barca in Liga lead as Madrid draws

"They've lost Neymar and replaced him with a youngster in Ousmane Dembele - but they remain, along with Real, one of the two strongest teams in the world". "Now is just the warming up", Mourinho said after a routine win for his Manchester United team over Swiss club Basel. In the first half, Chelsea took a 2-0 lead thanks to goals by Pedro Rodriguez and new signing Davide Zappacosta scintillating effort.

Manager Jorge Sampaoli has shown a preference for starting both men behind a focal point centre-forward of late, though the Albiceleste have majorly struggled for goals, leading to questions surrounding whether Messi and Dybala should share the pitch together at all.

The France forward was bright in the first half with some neat runs, many of which were halted by fouls from the Juventus defence.

"It's important to play a lot of minutes but the key is looking after yourself properly", said Iniesta, who is out of contract at the end of the season. The 30-year-old's ability to pass the ball in the defensive half, and play inch-perfect aerial through balls to the midfielders and forwards is what made the system so successful. The outcome of the match is likely to be decided in the midfield and Juventus have in Matuidi and Pjanic, a unique combination of mental and physical strength, which can prove to be vital.

Yet, Messi was also fortunate to escape his first ever red card at club level moments later as he was booked by Slovenian referee Tomaz Klancnik for his attempts to get a Juventus player cautioned.

"We even gave him more responsibility with the number 10, a shirt that holds a great deal of importance in the tradition of Juventus".

That made it eight goals for Messi for the season, seven in his last three games after his hat trick at the weekend against Espanyol.

Juventus could have equalized just after the break when Dybala found himself free to shoot after a loose ball fell to his feet but he could only shoot wide.

It was the Messi show from that point on, though, and the five-time Ballon d'Or victor nearly doubled his personal tally for the evening in the 52nd minute when his powerful 25-yard drive struck the post before bouncing back off the beaten Buffon and behind.

"What might happen in the future I don't know, but I am very happy at Juventus".

Dybala has changed agents since the window closed putting brother Mariano in charge of his affairs in Europe and apparently ending his working relationship with Pierpaolo Triulzi.

"He has to go to a team where he gets into a project that is already suitable for him".

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