Messi double helps Barca make La Liga’s best start

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Lionel Messi scored twice at the weekend as Barcelona made the best start in the history of the Spanish league with a 5-1 win over Athletic Bilbao.

Messi’s 11th double of the season left him one goal shy of Gerd Mueller’s record of 85 for club and country in a calendar year, set in 1972. The 25-year-old Messi has scored 28 times this season, including a league-leading 21 goals.

Barcelona led 3-0 by half-time thanks to goals by Gerard Pique, Messi and Adriano. Cesc Fabregas and Messi completed the rout in the second half.

The team’s 13 wins and a draw in the opening 14 rounds surpassed Real Madrid’s 12 wins and two draws to begin the 1991-92 campaign.

Madrid, meanwhile, extended their dominance over Atletico Madrid by easing to a 2-0 victory thanks to goals by Cristiano 
Ronaldo and Mesut Özil.

Real’s ninth straight win in the Spanish capital’s biggest derby kept alive their run of not losing to Atletico in 24 straight games, dating back to 1999.