Suarez smashes Barcelona's first non-Messi Clasico hat-trick since Romario

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The Blaugrana were without their mercurial Argentine in their latest meeting with Real Madrid, but their Uruguayan striker stepped up in his absence

Luis Suarez has scored Barcelona’s first Clasico hat-trick not recorded by Lionel Messi since Romario managed the feat back in 1994.

The Blaugrana entered their latest meeting with arch-rivals Real Madrid looking for inspiration from somewhere.

With mercurial captain Messi nursing a broken arm, somebody was required to step up in his absence.

Suarez proved to be up to the task as he ran the Blancos ragged at Camp Nou as Barcelona eased to a 5-1 victory.

Philippe Coutinho had handed Barca the perfect start inside 11 minutes, but his fellow South American took over from that point.

Suarez recorded his first of the afternoon from the penalty spot on the half-hour mark, having earned the spot-kick himself, before Marcelo snatched Madrid a lifeline.

Hope did not linger for long, though, for those in white as Suarez struck twice more to put the result beyond doubt.

Arturo Vidal grabbed a fifth for Ernesto Valverde’s side to complete a derby demolition job, but the headlines belonged to Suarez.

The Uruguayan recorded the 25th hat-trick in Clasico history, but the first by a Barca player not named Messi in 24 years.

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Suarez’s treble was also the first managed in a glamour clash between La Liga’s heavyweight rivals since Messi secured a match ball during the 2013-14 campaign.

He is also the first man to net from the spot in a Clasico other than Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo since Ruud van Nistelrooy back in 2008.

Barca needed Suarez to deliver when it matters most, and he did not disappoint.

Valverde’s side are now two points clear at the top of the Liga table while Real, stuck down in ninth, have seen pressure mount on beleaguered boss Julen Lopetegui as he edges ever closer to the exits.

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