In head coach Pep Guardiola's final game at home as the manager for Barcelona, Messi was the star, scoring from a set piece, two penalty shots and the typical flow of play. With the effort he pushed his total to 72 goals on the season with 50 of them coming from La Liga games.
Messi opened the scoring with a right footed shot over the wall from 25 yards out on a free kick in the 12th minute. It was an impressive shot, but one that has become almost commonplace off the boot of the Argentinain.
But after that goal, the game got much more even. Espanyol, who was in a position to qualify for Europe a month ago, battled back hard against their giant rivals and managed to keep them in check for the remained of the half.
But in the second half the dam broke. In the 63rd minute a hand ball was called on Espanyol's Christian Gomez in the box. He was given a yellow card and Barcelona was awarded a free kick. Espanyol were incensed by the call and Alvaro and Christian Alvarez were both shown yellow cards as well for excessive arguing.
Messi buried the penalty left-footed, to the bottom right corner of the net giving Barcelona a 2-0 lead.
In the 74th minute Messi buried a shot after a georgeous through ball from Adriano. He struck again with his left foot to the bottom right corner of the net to complete his hat trick and give the home side a 3-0 lead.
Four minutes later, Juan Forlan fouled Sergio Brusquets in the box and Messi buried the penalty for a 4-0 win.