That's enough from La Liga for now as we switch gears for the FA Cup quarter-final. See you over there.
- Messi with another hat-trick - inside 11 minutes
- Barca go top of La Liga
- Suarez gets two; Alves sent-off
- Real Madrid lost on Saturday
Messi in the Premier League? I doubt it would ever happen, but I'd love to see it.
One thing I don't really understand is how FFP rules would affect a possible transfer. If Messi is worth, say £300m, I don't think anyone would be able to buy him would they?
Steve Howes: Messi hat trick....yawn. Of course he and Ronaldo are happy to bag so many goals without breaking sweat. Makes good stats.
Ankur Goel: Would love to see Messi play in PL so that this discussion can end forever. Mr. Wenger are you listening?
Reece Young: Messi scores once every two games for Argentina. Nothing to do with the league or the team. Just pure class. Let's just admire
Heddwyn from Carmarthenshire: People go on about how the PL is so much better than La Liga, but where's the proof? They play more attractive football and, if you actually look at the two leagues in terms of points, there isn't much to split them, so you can't really say it's less competitive.
Dave, Bedford: Whether Messi would score as much in a different league is missing the point, he wouldn't score as many in any team other than Barca - who are tailor made to suit him. Doesn't score as freely for Argentina does he? That said he's far and away the best footballer I've ever seen. Only Zidane comes close, and not that close to be honest.
Paul, Cardiff: Bueno earns it Bueno scores it ! I think all penalties should be taken by the player that earns the penalty! Stops top strikers nicking goals off their teammates.
Lionel Messi has 32 hat-tricks for Barcelona in all competitions. Cristiano Ronaldo has 27 for Real Madrid. Twenty-seven! Rubbish.
Rampant, rampant Barcelona. But all credit to Rayo Vallecano for their approach. They contributed a lot to that game.
- Copyright: AFP
What a wonderful entertaining display from Barcelona. Lionel Messi sends in Luis Suarez, he skips around the keeper and hammers in the sixth.
You can be too unselfish at times! Luis Suarez is clean through again, he should score but tries to find Lionel Messi for a tap-in and overdoes the pass!
Barca really could have had 10 today.
Jeff Smith: Re Robin - I watch la liga week in week out, premier league is nothing compare to La liga, they are actually talented players in Spain not like your long ball traits in the prem league.
Garry, Bristol: Messi seems to break record upon record in Spain, time for a new challenge? The greatest.
Showboating at 5-1 down! Class from Rayo as the defender backheels the ball past Lionel Messi to find his goalkeeper.
It's 10 v 10 now but it's still men v boys. Barcelona carve open Rayo with a wonderful move, Luis Suarez curls in a strike and it's yet another great save from Cristian Alvarez!
Tom Holmes: Messi once scored 4 against Arsenal. He'd rip the EPL to shreds.
Richard Jebb: Laughable statement from Robin Davies, and also wrong!
Girma Kassie: Spanish la liga poor? Must be kidding. Do we need flying tackles to make it better? Messi is brilliant. You have seen him!!
Alberto Bueno - who was the man brought down by Dani Alves - lashes in the penalty.
- Copyright: AFP
Dani Alves is the last man and he slides in - did he get the ball? The referee says penalty and a red card for the Barcelona right-back.
- Copyright: AFP
We were just having a similar debate in the BBC office Robin. To be honest, I think he'd score a few against QPR and Leicester.
Robin Davies: 24 hat-tricks for Messi but in a poor league, he wouldn't get 8 in the Premier league
Dani Alves pings a 30-yarder onto the roof of the net, they're all having a go now.
- Copyright: AFP
That's now 24 hat-tricks in La Liga for Lionel Messi - a record.
Just think about that for a moment. Twenty-four.
Does it ever get boring for Lionel Messi? Shooting fish in a barrel. What a player, what a goalscorer, what a machine. Scoring goals like Wayne Gretsky.
- Copyright: AFP
Just brilliant again! Lionel Messi with yet another hat-trick, he collects the pass from the left, dances between two defenders, goes round the keeper and slides it in. Three goals in 11 minutes.
Lionel Messi bends the free-kick around the wall and it's a great stop from the flying Cristian Alvarez!
Barcelona bring on Rafinha for Andres Iniesta. Lionel Messi wins a free-kick on the edge of the box, this could be the hat-trick...
An unbelievably good touch from Luis Suarez to pick the ball out of the air, Suarez gets a shot off, it's only parried out and Lionel Messi has a tap in.
He has scored 40 goals for the season now - for the SIXTH SUCCESSIVE SEASON. Ridiculous.
Good luck trying to tell Lionel Messi that he's not having spot-kicks any more. I agree though - that first penalty was terrible. Made Gareth Southgate look powerful.
Michael Powell: Messi gets a reprieve, but still missed first pen. Time for someone else to take over Barca's spot kick duties?
Afolabi Shobowale: Messi bailed out by the referee there, that first penalty was dreadful
Barca coach Luis Enrique decides he doesn't really need a holding midfielder in this situation so Javier Mascherano is off and on comes Ivan Rakitic.
This could be a cricket score now. Barca three up and a man advantage. Half an hour to go.
Lionel Messi takes advantage of his reprieve by burying the retake into the other corner.
That's a terrible penalty! Lionel Messi has a tame penalty saved. But hang on, he is going to be allowed to take it again for encroachment!
Two yellow cards for Tito equals a red. Off you go.
There's a rugby tackle on Luis Suarez at the back post - penalty all day long.
Brilliant stop! Andres Iniesta lashes in a left-footed drive and Rayo keeper Cristian Alvarez pulls off a cracking one-handed stop.
- Copyright: AFP
This is now Gerard Pique's best ever season for goalscoring, that's his sixth of the campaign. Rayo continue to be adventurous and they are so close to a goal too, a stretching Leo Baptistao gets a shot in and it's deflected just past the post.
It has been coming! Dani Alves heads a corner against the far post, it comes back out and Gerard Pique is in the right place to force the loose ball home.
If Rayo continue to squeeze up the pitch there could be plenty more goals to come.
The free-kick is put in the middle, Gerard Pique with a cracking touch to bring the ball under control but he can't quite squeeze off a shot.
More of the same from Rayo, a high line asking for trouble. Barca win a free-kick on the left.
Here we go, the sides are back out. Attack! Attack! Attack, attack, attack!
If, like me, you find this early kick-off time odd - we're in the wrong. There are 87,151 inside the Nou Camp - the best attendance of the season.
European football writer
"Odd first half. Barca ran riot early on but then lost their way. Rayo's high line simultaneously making it easy and difficult for Barca."
Barcelona heading back to the top of La Liga but they should have trousered at least two or three goals in that first half to boost their goal difference.
Manchester City will presumably defend a bit deeper when they come to town on 18 March - just four days before El Clasico. What a week for Barca fans...
One second of stoppage time played and there's the whistle. Wonderful stuff. More of the same please.
Possibly the most exciting first half of a game I've seen in a while. One-nil is a fraudulent scoreline, should be about 6-2.
Ian Jeffries: Real Madrid problems lie in the first 30 mins. If they don't score, front 3 become frustrated and are not an effective attacking force.
Wonderful feet again from Andres Iniesta as he slides out of one tackle and then runs past two more, he tries to find the run of Lionel Messi but Rayo keeper Cristian Alvarez - who has had an excellent half- comes out well to sweep it up.
- Copyright: AP
A late, late flag denies Luis Suarez yet another run in on goal. Rayo Vallecano ain't changing tactics for noone.
Suarez is in fine form though. He had a hand in nine goals in 11 apps for Barca in 2014 (3 goals 6 assists, all comps) but already has 16 goals in 15 games in 2015 (nine goals, seven assists).
Problems for Real Madrid?
John McEnerney: Toni Kroos is pure class & has shown it as for James, World Cup wonder he's not bad though, RM need a defender or 2 & Sami Khedira back ASAP
Genius. Absolute genius stuff! Luis Suarez picks out the run of Lionel Messi with a magnificent dink over the top, it's timed perfectly and Messi then lobs the outrushing goalkeeper with the deftest of touches. It doesn't look possible to get the ball up and down in the space available but Messi does it.
It drops into the side-netting though and we are denied a magic moment.
Lovely effort! Former Barca man Roberto Trashorras swings the set-piece over the wall, it dips, it swerves, and it kisses the outside of the post and wide!
Almost the leveller for Rayo.
Two good points there. We are starting to get the first rumblings that Carlo Ancelotti's time at the Bernabeu may be coming to an end, who next for Real? And whatever it is Rayo are playing at, I like it Freddie. They are having plenty of efforts of their own too, winning a free-kick now in a dangerous area.
Mark Adamson: Real Madrid signing players like Kroos/James looks good but real scouting involves learning players character. Can they fit into a team?
Freddie Stewart: I think Rayo may have devised an elaborate satire of Arsenal's (pre-Etihad rerevolution) approach to playing big teams
Former Liverpool man Emiliano Insua takes aim from 25 yards and forces Barca keeper Claudio Bravo into a diving save. Still a cracking game, miles better than when teams camp out in defence against the big sides. Keep it open. Lionel Messi has been quiet so far.
Barcelona miss another golden chance! Xavi with another peach of a pass over the top, Rayo's highline kills them again and Pedro is in on goal. If he can get the shot away he'll score, but the ball sticks under his feet and keeper Cristian Alvarez is able to make the save.
Moments later Alvarez has to race out of his area to clear another ball over the top.
Barca defender Jeremy Mathieu has to pull off a fine clearing header at the far post as Rayo continue to pile men forwards. Apparently their coach Paco Jemez said before the game that he didn't care if they lose by one, or seven, as long as they played well. And his side certainly listened to those words!
BBunyan Ngwiri: No surprise seeing Real Madrid suffer. Transfer policy is all about name players instead of top players. So disjointed.
Transfer policy wrong? Signing Toni Kroos and James Rodriguez last summer wasn't exactly the worst decision...
I am going to start watching Rayo Vallecano every week. An extraordinary lack of interest in defending is making for a brilliantly entertaining match. Pedro this time has 45 yards of grass to run into but he can't quite get hold of it. Barcelona can help themselves to a handful here.
I asked you for unusual times/places you've watched sport...
Rayguns: I saw Andy Murray win the US open at a bar in Egypt at about 1am. The Dj started playing Scottish tunes to celebrate.
We have to know more. Proclaimers? Rod Stewart?
Barcelona want a penalty! Luis Suarez again breaks the flimsiest offside trap I've seen since I played for Mereway Upper School's under-14s and he's in on goal. He cuts across the last man Abdoulaye Ba and goes down. Ba's tackle is at best clumsy but the referee waves play on.
The way Rayo are defending though, we could have a hatful!
- Copyright: BBC
That's the league table Barcelona fans wanted to see. As it stands they are back at the top.
Good strike. Rayo's attacking players have come to have a go and captain Roberto Trashorras fires in a dipping strike which Claudio Bravo has to save well.
Suicidal defending from Rayo Vallecano! They play an incredibly high line - halfway-line high - and one pass sees all three of Barcelona's forwards in on the keeper! They should really score but Luis Suarez plays a duff pass inside after rounding the keeper. Got to be scoring from there.
Brilliant. out of nothing Barcelona forge ahead and it's two touches of class. Xavi shows he's still got it with a delightful first-time pas round the corner, Rayo right-back Tito plays Luis Suarez onside and the former Liverpool man delivers a telling finish with the outside of his boot. Pick that one out!
A positive start from the visitors, who aren't going to follow the usual pattern of teams at the Nou Camp of defence at all costs. Barca keeper Claudio Bravo flaps at an early cross, that could have gone anywhere!
Get off the carousel! This is only the fourth game that Xavi and Andres Iniesta have started together all season, and Barca have lost two of those previous three.
Truly the end of an era.
Party time at the Nou Camp. We are under way.
The clash in weather between Salford Quays and Barcelona is ridiculous. Here come the teams out into glorious sun...
- Copyright: Getty Images
Watching top-class football at 11 in the morning is a strange old business, but it breaks up the afternoon nicely on FA Cup quarter-final day.
What's the strangest time and place you've ever found yourself watching sport? I remember asking a DJ to turn his music down at 3am in Leeds so I could get a better grasp of Paul Collingwood's double ton in Adelaide once...
You can also text us on 81111 in the UK only - don't forget to say who you are and where you are texting from.
Spanish La LigaCopyright: Getty Images
The biggest game in world football? Quite possibly.
El Clasico is happening on Sunday, 22 March. Reserve the front room, get the tapas in, have the San Miguel on tap, enforce any other lazy Spanish stereotypes you can think of, and just enjoy!
It's on the same day as Liverpool v Manchester United...
There will be an extensive live text commentary, reports, reaction, analysis and features around the game. Get it booked in.
Barcelona going top of La Liga may not qualify as shocking news, but it's worth remembering that they had slipped to fourth in November after defeat to Celta Vigo.
They also lost the first Clasico of the season - and the next one is on the horizon...
Spanish La Liga
Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti says he is "confused" by his strikers' problems in attack, after watching his side's La Liga title challenge suffer a blow with defeat at Athletic Bilbao.
Aritz Aduriz scored as Real lost 1-0 at San Mames, meaning Barcelona can go top if they beat Rayo Vallecano this morning.
"There is no connection, there is too much individual play," said Ancelotti.
"It's strange to say Madrid have a problem up front when we have scored so many goals but I think it's the truth."
- Copyright: Getty Images
Barcelona will go back to the top of La Liga with a win this morning, after Real Madrid slipped up on Saturday.
Real were beaten by Athletic Bilbao at San Mames and - unsurprisingly - coach Carlo Ancelotti is now coming under pressure...
Javier Mascherano moves back into the Barcelona midfield to replace the injured Sergio Busquets, while Neymar gets a day off up front, Pedro comes in.
Rayo have former Liverpool full-back Emiliano Insua in the side, while forward Gael Kakuta is on loan from Chelsea.
Barcelona: Bravo; Alves, Piqué, Mathieu, Alba; Mascherano, Xavi, Iniesta; Pedro, Suarez, Messi
Rayo: Cristian, Tito, Abdoulaye, Amaya, Insua, Jozabed, Trashorras, Licá, Bueno, Kakut,Leo Baptistao
How we all feeling on this Sunday morning? Bit of a fuzzy head? Feeling second best?
Well relax. The footballing gods have decided to perk us all up with some mid-morning Messi magic. Barcelona before breakfast?Copyright: Reuters
Count me in.