Messi's 365th goal in Spain's top flight was followed by strikes from Luis Suarez and Paulinho as Barcelona stretched their lead at the top of the table back to nine points over Atletico Madrid.
Barcelona ended 2017 with a crushing Clasico win at Real Madrid - who are now 17 points off the pace, albeit with two games in hand - and they continued the club-record start to a season easily, although there was no sign of Philippe Coutinho. Paulinho now has seven league goals, just one less than the combined total of Real Madrid's BBC.
Before Barcelona kicked off their match against Levante, Hudson gave us all a dose of his wonderful wackiness today as he joined in on the Barcelona anthem that is always played around the Camp Nou as the players enter the field.
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"We will wait until I have seen him train for a day at least until we talk about that", added Valverde when pressed on where the ex-Inter Milan man would fit into his team.
It was Messi who broke the deadlock from a Jordi Alba assist, a combination that has proved fruitful on so many occasions this season.
Sergi Roberto was played clear on the overlap down the right, and he cut the ball back to Suarez, who took the ball in his stride with a fine first touch before crashing a volley in off the underside of the crossbar.
But it was Paulinho who wrapped up the scoring in the third minute of stoppage time, Coutinho's compatriot tapping in from six yards after Suarez dummied a cross from Messi, who beat three defenders in typically stunning fashion before delivering a superb low cross.
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Coutinho's age is also highly attractive to Barca with Messi, Suarez and Iniesta all in their thirties. The two went on to develop a strong working relationship before Rodgers was sacked in October 2015.
The Dane was afforded acres of space although his chipped finish over Keylor Navas from the edge of the box was still a delight.
The pair will link up again following their time together at Anfield and Liverpool supporters are struggling to cope with the sight of them both in Barcelona gear.
"We made too many mistakes and lost the ball too often, especially in the second half", said Zidane.
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