Messi scores hat-trick as Barcelona secures stunning comeback win against PSG in Champions League.

April 16, 2024, 10:30 p.m. Sports

Read time estimation: 4 minutes. Barcelona vs PSG

Lionel Messi produced a masterclass performance to lead Barcelona to a stunning comeback win against Paris Saint-Germain in the UEFA Champions League, as he scored a magnificent hat-trick in a thrilling 4-1 victory at Camp Nou. The Argentinean maestro showed why he is considered one of the greatest players of all time with a performance that will live long in the memory of football fans.

The match was billed as a clash of the titans, with two of the biggest clubs in European football going head-to-head in the first leg of their Round of 16 tie. PSG, led by the potent attacking trio of Neymar, Kylian Mbappe, and Lionel Messi's former teammate, Angel Di Maria, were expected to provide a stern test for a Barcelona side that had been inconsistent in recent seasons.

However, the Catalan giants started brightly and took the lead in the 26th minute through Messi. The diminutive forward latched onto a through ball from Pedri and coolly slotted past PSG goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma to give Barcelona the lead. The home side continued to dominate possession and create chances, but PSG grew into the game and equalized just before halftime through a stunning long-range strike from Di Maria.

As the second half got underway, the game was finely poised with both teams looking dangerous in attack. But it was Messi who once again stole the show and put Barcelona ahead with a moment of magic in the 61st minute. The 34-year-old received the ball on the edge of the box, dribbled past two defenders, and unleashed an unstoppable shot into the top corner to complete his brace.

With the Camp Nou crowd erupting in celebration, Messi wasn't done yet. In the 74th minute, he completed his hat-trick with a composed finish after a swift counter-attack, sending the Barcelona faithful into raptures. The goals marked Messi's 74th career hat-trick and further solidified his status as one of the greatest goal scorers in football history.

PSG tried to mount a comeback, but Barcelona's defense held firm, and the home side added a fourth goal in the dying moments through a header from Gerard Pique. The victory was a statement of intent from Barcelona, who have been rebuilding under new manager Xavi Hernandez after a tumultuous period that saw the departure of Messi to Paris last summer.

The win also showcased the enduring brilliance of Messi, who has seamlessly adapted to life at his new club and continues to defy Father Time with his remarkable performances. His hat-trick against PSG was a timely reminder of his genius and his unmatched ability to change the course of a game single-handedly.

As the final whistle blew and the Barcelona players celebrated a famous victory, the focus now shifts to the second leg in Paris, where PSG will look to overturn the deficit and advance to the quarterfinals. But for one night at Camp Nou, it was Messi's magic that stole the show and reaffirmed his status as a living legend of the beautiful game.