Barcelona moved up to second in La Liga after a Lionel Messi hat-trick helped the defending champions to a 5-0 win against Atletico Madrid Saturday.

After drawing 2-2 at Valencia on Wednesday, Pep Guardiola's side responded in emphatic fashion, racing to a 3-0 lead inside the opening half-hour.

Barcelona took the lead in the ninth minute when Xavi sent David Villa clear, the Spain international beat his marker before sending a low shot beyond goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois.

Barca, looking for a fourth straight title, doubled their lead six minutes later when Messi and Pedro combined as the ball deflected past defender Joao Miranda for an own-goal.

Argentina international Messi made it 3-0 in the 26th minute before he added his second after a trademark run inside the Atletico defence. His third came in added time after Villa's lofted pass found the Argentine in space behind the defence and he had time to compose himself before finishing past Courtois from a tight angle.

Messi's hat-trick puts him on 192 Barca goals, two behind Hungarian legend Kubala.

"I just take it a game at a time but obviously I'm very excited," Messi told Barca TV Sunday.

"Hopefully I can overtake him [Kubala]. I want to continue making history here."