Messi scores three times in Barcelona’s La Liga clincher

April 30 (UPI) — Lionel Messi added three goals to his season total in FC Barcelona’s La Liga-clinching victory against Deportivo.

Barcelona’s 4-2 win Sunday at Riazor in A Coruna, Spain secured the club’s 25th La Liga championship. Messi added scores in the 38th, 82nd and 85th minute, pushing his total this season to 32 scores in La Liga.

Ronaldo has 24 scores in La Liga. Messi’s teammate Luis Suarez has 23 league goals.

Philippe Coutinho got things started for Barcelona on Sunday. The Brazilian stood at the top of the Deportivo box in the seventh minute. He received a soft feed from Ousmane Dembele. Coutinho finished off the pass by lofting a shot into the top left corner of the goal, beating Deportivo keeper Ruben Martinez.

Messi scored his first of the game about 31 minutes later. He brought down a Luis Suarez cross with a left-footed volley past Martinez for a 2-0 lead.

Deportivo finally got on the board in the 40th minute. Lucas Perez beat Marc-Andre ter Stegen by stabbing at the ball from about 15 yards out on that play. The home squad added another score in the 64th minute, when Emre Colak worked with two teammates in the Barcelona box before an easy finish past ter Stegen.

Messi added the Barcelona’s lead later in the second half. That time, he worked with Suarez on a give-and-go around six Deportivo defenders. before beating Martinez.

Suarez assisted Messi again three minutes later. He led him into the box, around five defenders, before Messi beat Martinez inside the near post.

After the game, Messi discussed the departure of longtime teammate Andres Iniesta, who is leaving Barcelona at the end of the season.

“Iniesta deserves to leave like this,” Messi told reporters. “He goes with a double that is more than merited, even though we would have liked him to depart with the treble. We wish him all the best.”

Barcelona has gone 34 games this season without a La Liga loss.

“I am really happy to have won this league title,” Messi said. “We know how difficult it is to win it and we have to appreciate it and celebrate it.”

Barcelona faces Real Madrid in El Clasico at 2:45 p.m. Sunday at Camp Nou in Barcelona, Spain.

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