Lionel Messi scored his 50th 2019 goal as Barcelona down Alaves 4-1 at Camp Nou to move three points clear at the top of La Liga on Saturday ahead of Real Madrid’s game on Sunday.
Luis Suarez assisted three goals and scored one. Antoine Griezmann first scored the opener and then Arturo Vidal message in the second goal, before Pere Pons’ header for Alaves.
Barçelona came close to a second seven minutes before half time, with Messi just poking wide following a lightning quick counter-attack involving Griezmann. However, they did double their advantage just before the break as Arturo Vidal rifled home Luis Suarez’s pass.
Barcelona wrapped up 2019 with a total of 24 wins and four draws at the Nou Camp as they make history of their first unbeaten year at home since 2011.
The Messi side will be top of La Liga over Christmas if Real Madrid beat Athletic Bilbao with five goals on Sunday.
Argentina forward Messi also had a goal disallowed before reaching his half-century of goals for club and country this year. He has reached that landmark in nine of the past 10 years.
Messi is warming up to finish as Europe’s highest goalscorer in 2019, with 34 goals in 32 La Liga matches leaving him five goals away from the best existing record.
Barca remains unbeaten in 11 games, while Alaves have played five matches without a win.