FC Barcelona and Leo Messi warmed up for a vital week which sees them visit Naples in the Champions League and face Real Madrid in the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium, with a comfortable 5-0 win at home to Eibar.
Messi scored a first half half-trick to resolve the game in the first 40 minutes, in what was nevertheless a difficult afternoon for Barca President Josep Maria Bartomeu who was booed an whistled by a large sector of the crowd before the kickoff.
The Kickoff was then delayed for seven minutes due to VAR problems and when the game got under way, Barca were grateful that the VAR was working as Eibar striker Sergi Enrich had a goal ruled out for a tight offside decision.
Messi hadn’t scored since January 19, but he netted his 15th league goal of the campaign in the 14th minute after a typical run through the heart of the Eibar defense, before clipping the ball past Eibar keeper Marco Dmitrovic.
Gonzalo Escalante sent a decent chance high for Eibar, before Messi scored his second of the game in the 37th minute with a low shot following a pass from Arturo Vidal.
Three minutes later he completed his hat-trick as he swept the ball home after it fell to him after Antoine Griezmann had been unable to finish.
The second half saw Barca coach Quique Setien look to rest players ahead of a tough week, with Sergio Busquets and Gerard Pique taken off for Frankie de Jong and Samuel Umtiti.
Eibar were slightly unlucky to see a goal ruled out for offside, although Anaitz Arbilla was judged to have raised his foot too high.
Barca keeper Marc Andre Ter Stegen was also forced into saves to keep out efforts from De Blasis and Cote
Martin Brathwaite made his Barca debut in the 72nd minute, replacing and unfortunate Griezmann and managed his fist assist of his Barca career with a low ball across the area which Messi controlled before working space and netting his fourth of the afternoon in the 87th minute.
The Dane then had a hand in the fifth after Dmitrovic saved his shot only for it to fall to the unmarked Arthur in the 89th minute. Enditem