Lionel Messi scored four times to take his tally for the season to an unprecedented 72 goals, and give Barcelona coach, Pep Guardiola, a 4-0 win against cross-town rivals Espanyol in his last home game at Camp Nou on Saturday.
Messi’s display was a fitting farewell for the coach who helped the Argentina forward become the world's best player, and made Barcelona one of the best teams ever.
After scoring his Spanish league-record 50th goal late on, Messi went to the sideline to embrace Guardiola, who is leaving after 13 titles in four seasons.
The only other player to have scored 70 goals in a first-division season was Archie Stark of Bethlehem Steel in the American Soccer League in 1924-25.
“Life has given me this gift during the past five years of being able to live with these players and enjoy this spectacle,” Guardiola told the packed stands, following his 97th win in 118 home games. “I have been the privileged one, to feel so loved and admired during all these years. Many thanks to all, above all to those who I have worked with every day.”
Two to go
Guardiola will coach Barcelona’s last league game, at Real Betis, before a chance of a 14th piece of silverware, in the Copa del Rey final against Athletic Bilbao. Guardiola’s assistant, Tito Vilanova, will then take over.
The stands were full of posters in Guardiola’s honour, and a banner saying “Thanks Pep” hung on the outside of the stadium to greet the departing manager on arrival.Guardiola came out of the tunnel to another enormous banner saying “We love you Pep!” and chants from the 89,044 fans.
“I will miss you all,” Guardiola told the crowd after the final whistle. “I am leaving you all in the good hands of these players.”