LaLiga English

Lionel Messi celebrates his 50th goal this year

Lionel Messi celebrates his 50th goals this year as he helped Barcelona beat Alaves 4-1 at Camp Nou.

It was a fitting way for the Argentine to reach a half-century of goals for club and country in 2019, the sixth straight time he has achieved the feat in a single calendar year and the ninth time in his career.

Antoine Griezmann had put Barca ahead in the 14th minute.

Alaves midfielder Pere Pons pulled a goal back in the 56th minute with a diving header.

But Messi restored their two-goal lead in the 69th and Luis Suarez rounded off the win with a penalty in the 75th minute.

The win keeps Barca top of the standings on 39 points from 18 games.

“Whenever Messi gets the ball we are all on our feet to see what will happen, it’s a real advantage to have him because at any moment Leo can appear and score a goal from any area,” Barca coach Ernesto Valverde said.

“They were starting to grow after their goal and the game could have turned dangerous for us but Messi scored and made everything easier for us.”