Lionel Messi scored a hat-trick as Barcelona easily defeated nine-man Rayo Vallecano 5-1 to become the first Spanish club to play 35 consecutive matches without a loss, breaking Real Madrid’s record of nearly three decades ago.
Midfielder Ivan Rakitic opened the scoring, Messi added the second, third and fourth goals, and Arda Turan topped it off late.
Watch Messi’s treble below
Rayo had two players sent off with straight red cards, Diego Llorente when they were 2-0 behind, and Manuel Iturra at 3-0 down.
It was Barcelona’s 10th win in a row in the league, keeping them eight points ahead of second-placed Atletico Madrid, who defeated Real Sociedad 3-0 on Tuesday.
Real Madrid remained 12 points adrift of the leaders after defeating last-placed Levante 3-1.
Messi has scored 19 goals in 22 La Liga appearances this season, and he has added another 13 in cup competitions.