March 8, 2012 in Sports

Messi scores record five goals

Paul Logothetis Associated Press
 

Messi
(Full-size photo)

BARCELONA, Spain – For all the astonishing feats in his young career, Lionel Messi had never scored five goals in a professional game.

And no one had scored five times in a Champions League match.

Well, check both of those off.

With another mesmerizing performance, Messi helped defending champion Barcelona crush Bayer Leverkusen 7-1 Wednesday night to advance to the quarterfinals with a 10-2 aggregate win.

“Without Messi, Barca is the best team,” Leverkusen coach Robin Dutt said. “And with him, they are in another galaxy.”

The three-time FIFA player of the year scored in the 25th, 42nd and 49th minutes for a 3-0 lead and his 17th career hat trick for Barcelona, then added goals in the 58th and 84th minutes for the first five-goal game of his professional career.

“We’ll never see a player like him again,” Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola said. “He is one of a kind.”

The last time a player scored five goals in European soccer’s top club competition had been when Ajax’s Soren Lerby did it against Omonia in the old Champion Clubs’ Cup in 1979-80.

Messi also became the first player to score at least four goals twice in the Champions League – he had four against Arsenal two years ago.

“I can’t remember the last time I scored five goals, so I’m very happy,” Messi said.

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