Liga - Breathtaking Barca hit eight
An imperious Barcelona obliterated Osasuna 8-0 in their La Liga clash at the Camp Nou with Lionel Messi rampant in scoring a hat-trick.
Pep Guardiola's trailblazers had racked up five goals by half-time with Messi netting a brace and Roversio putting into his own net, while Cesc Fabregas and David Villa each added to the emphatic scoreline.
The second half saw no let up as the relentless and clinical Barcelona found three more goals courtesy of Xavi, Villa's second and Messi's third as Guardiola celebrated his 50th league win at home in the most scintillating fashion.
The European champions were criticised for easing off last weekend at Real Sociedad, moving 2-0 up inside 12 minutes but petering out and losing two points against the Basques, but it was no such repeat at the Camp Nou as Barca set about executing a quite outrageous performance.
Jose Luis Mendilibar's side could have been in front in just the third minute as a touch of apprehension from Eric Abidal saw the defender dally under a high ball and Damia found Juan Francisco Martinez whose cross-shot looped onto the crossbar. But thereafter it was one-way traffic.
Barca were in front in the fifth minute as a stunning raking pass from Sergio Busquets picked out Dani Alves, who headed across the six-yard box to the back post where Messi was on hand to turn the ball into the net.
It was two shortly afterwards as a stunning ball over the top from Messi was coolly volleyed beyond Andres Fernandez by Fabregas, and Barcelona assumed a commanding 2-0 lead.
The summer signing from Arsenal almost netted his fifth goal of an already prolific campaign as he hurtled into the box at pace, only to see his snap shot blocked excellently by Fernandez with Messi unable to convert the follow up.
Just a minute later, Abidal struck the crossbar with a powerful header after Messi picked out the defender's rampaging run into the Osasuna box with an unerring dinked delivery from the right. Fernandez was again comprehensively beaten.
It was then Messi's turn to be denied by the woodwork on the half hour mark as another slick move from Barcelona saw a pinpoint diagonal pass from Xavi pick out the Argentine, whose downward header struck the foot of the near post.
Villa made it three in the 34th minute as Abidal surged down the left and found the striker, who kept his composure superbly to round the flat-footed Fernandez and coolly slot the ball into an empty net.
Roversio was the unfortunate scorer of an own goal in the 40th minute as he was caught inside the Osasuna box, getting an inauspicious final touch following more fine work from the ever-potent Villa, and the hosts led by four.
A minute later, and it was five. Fabregas floated a sublime through ball into the path of the irrepressible Messi, who beat Fernandez again with an air of inevitability and a flourish to take his side into the break on a high.
Both managers made a change at the break with Adriano coming on for Abidal, while Alvaro Cejudo replaced Jukka Raitala for the visitors, with Barcelona having enjoyed a staggering 85 per cent of the possession.
It was more of the same after the break, and Messi was denied by the woodwork for a second time as he drew Gonzalez off his line, honing in on goal, and proceeded to lift an exquisite lob over the keeper's head with it dropping agonisingly on top of the crossbar.
But it was six shortly afterwards as Xavi latched on to a perfectly-flighted through ball from Messi, before the Barca captain looped a glorious lob over the onrushing Fernandez with consummate ease.
It was Xavi's final act Guardiola had the luxury of being able to withdraw Abidal, Carles Puyol and his skipper as Fabregas slotted into a more central role.
The more withdrawn position did nothing to subdue Fabregas, who capitalised on some shoddy Osasuna defending to regain possession and fly through on goal, before unselfishly laying the ball off for the supporting Villa, who was left to tap the ball home.
It did not take long for Barca to rack up number eight as Villa bided his time before slotting a precise ball into the path of Messi, who fooled Fernandez with a dummy before tapping home for his hat-trick. Astonishingly, it was the Argentine's 93rd strike in 103 games for the Catalan club.
It was a thrashing of incredible execution and panache, and a quite breathtaking way for Guardiola's side to respond following two uncharacteristically sluggish performances against Real Sociedad and Milan, with a display pretty close to perfection.