Luis Suarez scored twice to help Barcelona to a 4-1 win over Espanyol in the clash of the Catalans at the Camp Nou last night.
The Uruguayan’s double briefly made him the top scorer in LaLiga with 12 goals, until team-mate Lionel Messi moved back level with him in the last minute.
It also ended Espanyol’s 10-game unbeaten run and edged the Spanish champions to within three points of leaders Real Madrid.
All that separated the sides at the interval was Suarez’s opener, but a second from Suarez and a goal from Jordi Alba in the space of 60 second-half seconds put Barca out of sight.
Espanyol grabbed a consolation 11 minutes from time when Moreno cushioned an inviting ball for David Lopez to crash into the net.
But Messi grabbed his goal with a minute to go, rounding off another stellar performance by firing home after Suarez’s chip put him through.
Meanwhile, Cristiano Ronaldo hailed “the perfect end” to a stellar 2016 after his hat-trick sealed the Club World Cup title for Real Madrid.
The Portuguese star scored from the penalty spot and twice more in extra-time as LaLiga’s leaders saw off the challenge of Japanese underdogs Kashima Antlers 4-2 in Yokohama.
“It has been a dream year, really great,” Ronaldo said, after collecting the Club World Cup’s ‘golden ball’ award. “It is a week full of great moments after winning the Ballon d’Or and now the Club World Cup, so it really is a perfect end to the year.
“I didn’t think it would end like this: Winning the final, scoring three goals, and helping Real Madrid.
“I’d like to thank my team-mates yet again, because I cannot win individual trophies without them.”
“It has been an unforgettable year both for the team and me as an individual. We won the Champions League, the Super Cup and the Club World Cup. I also won the Euro with Portugal. It was a perfect year. I am very happy to end the year in such a way.
“This is the trophy we really wanted to end the year in the best way possible.”
On the occasion of another crowning triumph, he again took aim at his perceived critics. “Everyone always expects more from Cristiano, I always give my best and if I can’t do it it’s because I’m unable,” he said. “People often talk too much, but I’m used to that. I have kept my level of performance as high as possible over the last 10 years. I want to keep working and enjoy my football, that is what I love the most. The statistics don’t lie. I am really happy, I’ve had a great season personally and as part of a team.”
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