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Messi celebrates landmark Barcelona game with a goal

By Staff Reporter

la liga: Lionel Messi marked his 500th game for Barcelona with his 425th goal and hailed the club's "spectacular" year after rounding off an impressive 2015 with a 4-0 victory over Real Betis and admitted it would be difficult to repeat the team's achievements in 2016.

Barca took the lead from a controversial penalty, awarded to Messi after he inadvertently clashed with Betis keeper Antonio Adan. Neymar hit the crossbar from the spot but Betis defender Heiko Westermann diverted the ball into his own net to give Barca the lead after 29 minutes, and Messi doubled the advantage a few minutes later.

Suarez struck twice in the second-half to see Barcelona reach 180 goals in 2015, eclipsing the previous record set by Carlo Ancelotti's Real Madrid in 2014 by four goals.

Messi admitted the 4-0 scoreline was the perfect way to round off an almost perfect year for the Catalans, who won five out of six official competitions.

"It's been spectacular and we wanted to finish this way," Messi said. "It's difficult to improve, but we'll try. We have a great squad and we all want to achieve big things.

"It was a weird game and a lot happened, but we managed to get three points. We were able to get there, but it wasn't a great performance from us."

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