BARCELONA 5-2 MALLORCA

Messi hat-trick, the perfect way to celebrate the Ballon d'Or – Ernesto Valverde

Ernesto Valverde heaped praise on Ballon d'Or winner Lionel Messi after his hat trick inspired Barcelona's 5-2 romp against Real Mallorca.

Messi hat-trick a good way to celebrate Ballon d'Or – Barca boss Valverde

Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde felt that Leo Messi could not have celebrated winning this year's Ballon d'Or in better fashion that he did with his record-breaking hat-trick at Camp Nou on Saturday night. Messi picked up his sixth Ballon d'Or earlier in the week, and his three goals against Mallorca put Barça back at the top of the table. Messi has now overtaken Cristiano Ronaldo, setting a new record for the most hat-tricks in LaLiga history.

After Messi's exhibition display, Valverde was lost for words. "Unbelievable," he told reporters after the match. "It was a good way to celebrate the Ballon d'Or."

Valverde taken aback by Suárez backheel

While Messi dominated headlines with his latest match-winning exploits, his strike partner Luis Suárez scored a magnificent back-heel to round off a fluid passing move against Mallorca. On Suarez's 43rd-minute goal, Valverde added: "The situation took me by surprise. I thought it was a pass to a team-mate. It surprised me, but it was an extraordinary goal. I told him that there had been a few easier chances and this one, which was improbable, went in."