Barcelona have done it again and have finished the first half of the La Liga season top of the table with a 19-point gap ahead of a distant Real Madrid.

However, when Juanmi Jiménez put Real Sociedad 2-0 ahead in the 35th minute of Sunday's [14 January] game, the so called 'Anoeta curse' appeared unavoidable.

Los Blaugranas had not won a single La Liga match in the Basque stadium in the last seven seasons and not since 1929 had they comeback to prevail after losing at half time.

But Lionel Messi is able to destroy defenders, giants and curses all at once. The Argentina international equaled a record that seemed unbreakable, by scoring his 366th goal in La Liga.

Only Gerd Muller has previously reached this landmark in the five biggest leagues in the world. The German was able to achieve this milestone between 1964 and 1979 and needed 427 games. Messi has been able to overcome the 1971 World Cup winner in just 401.

True to his style, Messi broke the record with a stunning free kick from 30 yards. Though is true that Gero Rulli – one of the most overrated goalkeepers in Europe - did not even move, the ball simply defied the laws of physics as it dipped under the crossbar and into the bottom corner.

Gary Lineker summed up the feat on Twitter: "Messi has just scored with a most ridiculous free kick. He plays a game that mere mortals could not even dream of playing."

His 19th goal from a free-kick allowed Messi to break another record. He has now scored more free-kicks in La Liga over the last 25 years ahead of Roberto Carlos (16), Ronaldinho (15), Duda (13), Assunçao (12), Rivaldo (11) or Nihat (10).

Only Cristiano Ronaldo can claim to be as accurate yet debate will continue among the fans with the Portugal international, needing 305 attempts to reach 20 goals, has an accuracy rate of 6.23% while Messi needed just 279 (6.81%).

Arsenal's perfect season

It was a special night for Barcelona. The curse in the Basque-country was broken and they ended the first half of La Liga unbeaten. Full credit for Ernesto Valverde, who has dealt with Neymar's unexpected departure, Ousmane Dembele's long term injury and an awful start with defeat to Real Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup.

Shyness, discretion and bravery can go together, as the former Athletic Bilbao manager has shown since last September. Though there were many doubts among pundits when he was hired as Luis Enrique's successor, but did not hesitate and put the 1-4-3-3 era to an end. True to his style – he is the most versatile manager in Spain - he has been able to change systems and games from the bench and now he eyes a world record belonging to Arsenal.

Arsene Wenger's side ended the 2003-04 Premier League season with 26 victories and 12 draws. So far, Barcelona have won 16 games and have drawn the remaining three. Barca have enjoyed the best first half of a domestic season in their 119-year history having won 16 and drawn three of their 19 league games.

Spain's La Liga record

Real Sociedad could become Barcelona's next victim. The Basques hold the record of the most consecutive games unbeaten in La Liga (38 between 1980 and 1981). The Catalans have not lost domestically since their defeat at Málaga last April.

Now, 26 games later they have the chance to break one of the longest running records in Spain. Pep Guardiola was able to equal it with Barcelona in 2011, but they lost what would have been their 38th game unbeaten against the holders of this record, Sociedad.

This might not be the most eye-catching Barcelona side of the last decade but as Ernesto Valverde once said: "I am not going to say sorry for winning".

Lionel Messi
Messi curled home the 19th La Liga free-kick of his career to complete Barcelona's comeback at Real Sociedad. Getty Images