BARCELONA: Leo Messi returned to record-breaking form with his two goals in Barcelona’s 6-0 thrashing of Rayo Vallecano in the Spanish league.
Messi, who returned to duty last month after a two-month injury absence, fired his career league total to 228 goals from 263 matches, one more than Real Madrid great Di Stefano managed in 329 games.
Coach Gerardo Martino said: “If he wants it Messi will break all the records he likes.” The 26-year-old is joint third on the all-time list behind Bilbao’s Telmo Zarra (251) and Real Madrid’s Hugo Sanchez (234) and level with Raul.
Victory kept Barcelona, who go to Manchester City in the Champions League on Tuesday, level at the top of La Liga with Atletico de Madrid who beat Valladolid 3-0. Raul Garcia and Diego Costa scored the goals.
Villarreal’s home match against Celta Vigo was suspended for half an hour after a teargas canister was thrown on to the pitch three minutes before the final whistle. Celta, leading 1-0 at the time, scored a second goal after the resumption.
Monaco cash in
In France Colombian James Rodriguez scored both goals in Monaco’s 2-0 victory at Bastia to keep them second, five points behind champions Paris Saint-Germain who had beaten Valenciennes 3-0 on Friday.
In Germany Hamburg sacked Dutch coach Bert Van Marwijk after a 4-2 defeat at fellow strugglers Eintracht Braunschweig, their seventh successive Bundesliga loss.
Van Marwijk, manager of the Dutch side whose rugged approach scarred the 2010 World Cup Final, had taken over at Hamburg from Thorsten Fink only in September.
Hamburg are the only original Bundesliga club never to have been relegated.
Second-placed Bayer Leverkusen lost 2-1 to Schalke and slipped further adrift of leaders and champions Bayern Munich. Bayern beat Freiburg 4-0, recording their 13th successive leahue win and extending their unbeaten streak to 46 games.
With a Champions League tie coming up against Arsenal, Bayern coach Pep Guardiola rested Jerome Boateng, David Alaba, Thiago Alcantara and Mario Gotze.
Dante, Xherdan Shaqiri (two) and Claudio Pizarro scored the goals.
In Italy goals from Rodrigo Palacio and Mauro Icardi brought Internazionale an encouraging 2-1 win at Fiorentina, their first away victory in Serie A since early November.
Fiorentina missed a chance to move level with Napoli, who occupy the last Champions League qualifying place, despite the return of striker Mario Gomez as substitute after five months out injured.