Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde labelled Lionel Messi the 'best in the world' after the Argentine recorded his 50th career hat-trick during a 4-2 win against Sevilla at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan.
The 31-year-old had a hand in all four goals for Barca - scoring their first three goals and providing the assist for Luis Suarez's chipped finish deep into added time - as the Catalan side extended their lead at the summit of La Liga to ten points.
Messi's three-goal display against Sevilla took his La Liga tally to 25 in just 23 games, making him the league's top scorer, as Valverde heaped praise on the five-time Ballon d'Or winner - not only for his goals, but for his all-round display also.
"Lionel not only scored three goals, but you have to see where, when and how he gets them," said Valverde after the game, as quoted by beIN Sports.
"We have a decisive and superlative player. All teams have decisive players but we have the best in the world. Not only for his goals, but because he [always] appears in the right place at the right time."
The win, which is Barcelona's second in their past six games across all competitions, comes ahead of an important week for them, as they prepare for two games against fierce rivals Real Madrid in the space of four days.
First is the second leg of their Copa del Rey semi-final at the Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday, before they meet at the same venue three days later in La Liga, with Valverde's side potentially having the chance to go 15 points clear of Los Blancos in the league should they win.