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CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Messi hits hat-trick 36 as Barcelona run riot against Celtic

Barcelona inflicted Celtic's heaviest defeat in European competition at the Camp Nou on Tuesday night.

Luis Enrique's side ran riot in Catalonia to produce a 7-0 victory in their opening Champions League match of the 2016/17 season, embarrassing Brendan Rodgers' Hoops.

Lionel Messi helped himself to his 36th hat-trick for the Spanish club and sixth in the European top flight, more than any other player in history.

It opened in the third minute with a well-struck angled effort form the Argentine maestro before Celtic had a chance to get back on level terms on 24 minutes when Moussa Dembele was brought down by Barca keeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen in the Area.

However, the young French striker's stuttered approach did not disrupt the German gloveman who guessed the right way to keep out the 12-yard attempt.

Normality soon resumed when Neymar cut back expertly for Messi to score with ease in the 27th minute before the Brazilian delivered a delightful free-kick to make it 3-0 on 50 minutes.

Just before the hour-mark, Neymar's pinpoint cross from the left found Andres Iniesta who unleashed a full-blooded volley for Barca's fourth.

Luis Suarez started to kick into gear and traded a slick one-two passing combination with Messi which resulted in the superstar sliding home his hat-trick just over a minute after Iniesta's goal.

Neymar produced his fourth assist with a lofting ball to Suarez in the 75th minute which saw the Uruguayan control with his chest, swivel and volley home with venom.

The Brazilian becomes the first player to give four assists in a Champions League game for Barcelona since 2003.

To wrap it all up, Iniesta played a perfect through ball for Messi who simply had to get it into the path of Suarez who touched it home on the slide in the 88th minute.

It gets no easier for Rodgers' Bhoys in Group C as the Scottish champions next take on Pep Guardiola's Manchester City at home on September 28 as Barcelona get set to meet Borussia Monchengladbach in Germany.

The other Group C future will be played on Wednesday night after torrential rain in Manchester forced the postponement of the scheduled Tuesday night encounter.

2016/17 UEFA Champions League - Group C

Barcelona (ESP): 7 (Lionel Messi 3'/29'/60', Neymar 50', Andres Iniesta 59', Luis Suarez 75'/88')
Celtic (SCO): 0

Camp Nou, Barcelona, Spain - 73,290

Andrew Slevison
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Andrew Slevison

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