Beginning the night one behind César’s 232-goal haul, Messi struck his first of the match after 17 minutes, volleying in, with the aid of the far post, a deflected cross from Isaac Cuenca. By that time Josep Guardiola’s men were already leading thanks to a goal fashioned in part by Messi, who headed another Cuenca delivery down for Xavi Hernández to score.
Granada pulled one back when Diego Mainz glanced in a free-kick, and then stunned the home fans by equalising through a Guillherme Siqueira penalty. That, though, merely paved the way for Messi to take centre stage once more.
The 24-year-old was found on 67 minutes by Daniel Alves’ chip over the visitors’ defence; two touches later, he was celebrating his record-breaking 233rd goal for the European champions.
Tello extended the lead before Messi completed the 12th La Liga hat-trick of his career with his 20th goal in his last eight games for club and country.
The numbers that Messi are putting up are mind blowing. To be only and be the greatest score in the history of a big club like Barcelona is mind blowing.
In breaking the record Messi took 314 games to score 233 goals. It is conceivable that by the time he is 30, Messi will have scored over 500 goals and would go down in history as the greatest goalscorer ever.
Earlier, Osasuna spurned the chance to move into fourth place when they drew 0-0 at home with Getafe. Real Madrid, meanwhile, will restore their eight-point lead over Barcelona if they defeat struggling Villarreal in one of five Liga games on Wednesday.