Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi Celebrates a goal. REUTERS/Albert Gea

Lionel Messi left the pitch on Saturday in grandiose fashion before he heads to Zurich for the FIFA Ballon d'Or ceremony on Monday.

Messi recorded his first hat-trick in nearly a year as Barcelona blew out Granada 4-0 and returned to the top of the La Liga table.

The Argentine striker started hot, scoring two goals in the first fifteen minutes of the game. Barca went into the locker room leading 2-0, and it didn't take "La Pulga" long to record the trifecta as he scored again in the 58th minute.

Brazilian forward Neymar completed the rout, scoring in the 83rd minute as FC Barcelona collected two important points and rose to the top of the table over Atletico Madrid who sits just one point back.

Dani Alves and Andres Iniesta did not start in the game as newcomers Aleix Vidal and Arda Turan played well in their place. Alves, had come under fire in recent days as he blasted the Spanish press on social media after the team's scoreless draw to Espanyol earlier in the week.

Turan played well in just his second game with Barcelona. The Turkish international played a through ball between the legs of Agbo Uche that found Messi wide open in front of the net for the easy tap in and the game's first goal.

Five minutes later, Messi scored his second inches from the end line after Neymar's cross was sent to the far post by Suarez where Messi scored from a seemingly impossible angle. The goal was Messi's second of the game, and the fastest two goals he's scored since 2007.

Twelve minutes into the second half Messi recorded his first hat-trick of the 2015-2016 season thanks to a dummy by Turan. Sergi Roberto got the ball to Neymar, who struck the near post and the ball careened to Messi who was there for the put back.

It was Messi's 25th hat-trick of his La Liga career, putting him second all-time behind Cristiano Ronaldo's 28. It hasn't taken Messi long to return to form after missing nearly three months with a knee injury. Messi has played in 11 games since returning to action, and has scored 12 goals with five assists over that span.

Meanwhile, Granada continues to be a minnow in the Spanish Premier league, and their 85-year drought at Camp Nou continues.

Check out the video of Messi's three-goals below:

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