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The Barcelona striker is out of his side's clash against Osasuna tonight (Wednesday) through suspension, but already has one eye on the Espanyol away game at the weekend.

Paco Alcacer got in on the act with a brace of his own after Messi was substituted to a standing ovation and Javier Mascherano contributed to a testimonial feel by netting a first ever Barcelona goal from the penalty spot.

Lionel Messi scored twice as Barcelona thrashed bottom-club Osasuna 7-1 at the Nou Camp on Wednesday night to temporarily move three points ahead of rivals Real.

The Bavarians have now failed to win any of their last five matches in all competitions and following last week's Champions League exit to Real Madrid, have only the league title to aim for.

"We know the quality Leo has, the type of player he is - the quantity of positive things he's given to the club and the joy it gives to you seeing him play", he said. "When they play like they did today and then maybe they won't play in the next game", said Zidane.

At the Camp Nou, Barca fans paid homage to Messi's brilliance against Real in scoring the victor and his 500th goal for the club with the last kick of the game in Sunday's El Clasico. "The game started well for us and we were in control but a mistake in the second half let Osasuna into the game", Luis Enrique told the club's official website.

Osasuna would be relegated back to the Segunda Division if they lost at Camp Nou and Leganes beat Las Palmas later in the evening.

Barca took 11 minutes to break the deadlock, as the visiting defence allowed Lionel Messi to break clear and he went on to lift the ball past the advancing Sirigu for the 501st goal of his Camp Nou career.

Andre Gomes has been the scapegoat for many of Barca's most disappointing defeats this season. The matches from here on in are more of a threat, and we have had problems with lower placed teams throughout the season, so [facing Osasuna] will be a tricky game.

But the Portuguese had arguably his best night in a Barca shirt as he drilled home Ivan Rakitic s cross to make it 2-0 on the half hour.

Rodriguez and Isco struck before Joselu's header gave Depor fans some late cheer but Casemiro had the last word and restored Madrid's four-goal lead in the 87th minute.

Any jitters among the home faithful were settled in the 58th minute when Gerard Pique took down Rakitic's left-wing corner on his chest, shot against the base of the post and saw Gomes slot in the rebound.

Messi then curled in his 49th goal in 47 appearances this season from the edge of the area.

And Real Sociedad boosted their chances of qualifying for the Europa League with a 3-2 win at Valencia.


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