FC Barcelona made their intentions clear last night as they thrashed Real Sociedad 1-6 in La Liga. The Catalans are clearly on a mission to chase the La Liga title this season, even as Atletico Madrid continues to lead by four points.

Lionel Messi achieved the record-breaking milestone of his 768th appearance for the club. Barcelona fans were also treated to seeing two goals from their captain, as they completely buried their opponents.

Antoine Griezmann drew first blood in the 37th minute for Barcelona before Sergino Dest doubled the lead five minutes later. Dest then completed a brace early in the second half before Messi made a contribution.

Ousmane Dembele extended the lead to 5-1 before Ander Barrenetxea found a consolation goal for Real Sociedad. The hosts were completely humiliated in a thankfully empty Anoeta stadium as Messi netted his second goal and Barcelona's sixth in the closing minutes of the match.

Messi truly showed off revitalised form, which is something that was clearly missing in the early parts of the season. His performance has raised hopes that he could be feeling more comfortable in the club, and a contract renewal is becoming more plausible.

The Argentine has now scored 23 goals for Barcelona this season, a clear indication that he is just as committed as ever before. Apart from scoring his own goals last night, Messi was also instrumental in setting up the first goal scored by Dest.

The three points were crucial for Barcelona, who are still chasing leaders Atletico Madrid. Unfortunately for them, a 6-1 victory still only brings home 3 points. Atletico's 1-0 win against Alaves last night may be more modest, but it also does the job of maintaining the 4-point gap.

Incidentally, former Barcelona star Luis Suarez scored the lone goal which may later prove crucial in beating his former employers to the title.

Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi scored twice as Barcelona thrashed Real Sociedad 6-1 on Sunday AFP / ANDER GILLENEA