Barcelona manager, Ernesto Valverde, has said Real Betis fans could not help but acknowledge Lionel Messi’s brilliance, after he netted his 33rd La Liga hat trick in their 4-1 win at the Benito Villamarin on Sunday.
Messi opened the scoring with a free kick and added the second before the break after a brilliant Luis Suarez assist.
He completed his treble late on with an exquisite chip, after Suarez and Loren Moron had exchanged goals.
The third Messi strike, which killed off any late hopes of a Betis comeback, drew an ovation from the home supporters.
“With Messi [in your side], everything is easier.
“Leo’s performance was extraordinary. The whole stadium applauded him. We’re fortunate to be living at a time when he’s playing football.
“Opponents also enjoy what he does despite the fact he scores against them. And the [Betis] supporters recognised that. Even though rival fans suffer at the hands of him, they recognise the player he is,” Valverde told a post-match conference.