Messi improves on remarkable record against Osasuna

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The mercurial Barcelona forward was among the goals again on Saturday against a La Liga opponent that he has enjoyed tormenting down the years

Lionel Messi boasts a formidable record against any number of opponents, but the Barcelona forward particularly enjoys facing Osasuna.

They were back in his sights on Saturday, with Luis Enrique’s side looking to get back to winning ways after three successive draws.

Messi makes 550th Barca appearance

A 3-0 victory keeps the Catalan giants within striking distance of the top of the La Liga table, with arch-rivals Real Madrid having edged clear at the summit.

Messi netted twice in their latest outing, allowing him to improve a remarkable personal return against Osasuna.

His first of the afternoon took him to 16 in his last nine appearances against a favoured foe, and his late second to 17.

While a brace in any top-flight encounter is not to be sniffed at, Messi has in the past netted a hat-trick against Osasuna in a 7-0 victory back in March 2014 and four in a 5-1 win in January 2013.

His efforts at El Sadar have also taken him onto 11 La Liga goals for the season.

He now leads the race to claim the Pichichi crown, having moved one ahead of eternal rival Cristiano Ronaldo.