Antoine Griezmann scored the winner as Barcelona moved above Real Madrid and into second place with a 2-1 home victory over Athletic Club.
The match was played against a backdrop of chatter around the details of Messi’s €555m contract, revealed in Sunday’s edition of El Mundo newspaper, but the Argentine allowed his football to do the talking for him here.
It was Messi who opened the scoring in stunning fashion, finding the top corner of the Athletic Club net from a free-kick over 20 yards out despite the best efforts of Yeray back on the goal line.
Athletic Club hit back just with an equaliser four minutes into the second half, though, when Jordi Alba diverted a Raul Garcia cross into his own net under pressure from Oscar de Marcos.
But Barcelona scored what proved to be the winner 16 minutes from the end when a good passing move resulted in Griezmann finishing from close range following a pinpoint assist from Oscar Mingueza down the right wing.
The three points was enough to take Barcelona up to second place in the La Liga table, above Real Madrid on goal difference following their shock defeat to Levante on Saturday, with Atletico Madrid’s lead at the top standing at 10 points.