Monday cover: Catch Lionel Messi and Barcelona if you can

The National's Sport cover for the Monday, March 9 issue, featuring Lionel Messi as his hat-trick sent Barcelona back to the top of La Liga.

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The National's Sport cover for the Monday, March 9 issue, featuring Lionel Messi as his hat-trick led Barcelona in a 6-1 rout of Rayo Vallecano to send the Catalan side top of La Liga.

Covering the match at the Camp Nou, Andy Mitten notes the feel-good atmosphere of a midday kickoff that also saw Barca recover their title favourites status:

“Why do so few Barca games kick off in daylight hours?

“Night games are special at Camp Nou, but more early kick offs would boost attendances and introduce younger fans to the joys of watching live football.

“If younger fans are not embraced then where are the supporters of the future coming from who will replace the elderly fans that pack the Camp Nou and who have been going to matches for decades?

“They were entertained by a Lionel Messi hat-trick, which takes him to 30 goals for the season, the same as Cristiano Ronaldo. It means Messi has scored more than 40 goals for his club in each of the past six seasons.

“The midday kick off clearly suits, Barca also won their other noon kick off 6-1.”

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