Lionel Messi had nonetheless scored in both of those games and he was on target again in this game again as he found the net twice in the second half, helping his side to a much-needed 3-0 win.
📷 Lionel Messi: Match Snapshot
A quiet first half saw Elche end up with more attempts on goal than Barca (3-2), though Messi did set up one of the two early chances which fell to Trincão, who was impressively denied by goalkeeper Edgar Badia.
⚽ ⏱️ 48' It was a moment of high quality just after half-time from Messi and Martin Braithwaite which broke the deadlock. Messi turned and purposefully ran at the Elche defence, who were backing away. A slick one-two with Braithwaite – who produced a brilliant flick – followed and the Argentine did the rest, beating the keeper with a stretching finish from eight yards out.
⚽ ⏱️ 69' Messi virtually walked it in to put Barca two goals in front. An excellent weaving dribble from Frenkie de Jong put Barca in a dangerous position in the box and he passed back to Messi. The forward’s first touch completely took Gonzalo Verdú out of the game, affording him the time to take an extra touch, beat Raúl Guti for good measure and convert a clever chipped finish from six yards.
Four minutes later, Braithwaite headed down Messi's cross to set up Jordi Alba, who put the icing on the cake.
Messi ended up with the most passes into the final third (43) and completed dribbles (4) of anyone on the pitch.
〽️ Lionel Messi: Rating Week-on-Week
Messi is on a tremendous individual stretch of form.
He had a perfect 10 FC Rating against Alaves on February 13 and played well individually despite Barca's struggles against PSG (7.6) and Cadiz (8.4).
Despite having had a strong score against Cadiz, Messi improved very nicely with his performance here, earning a fantastic 9.9 FC Rating.
🗝️ Key Stats
Messi match stats
|FC Rating||9.9||Rank #1|
|Final third passes||43||Rank #1|
|Completed dribbles||4||Rank #1|
Messi: What Next?
Messi goes into two big matches against Sevilla on a high. Barca are in Seville on Saturday for a match in La Liga and then welcome Julen Lopetegui's men to Camp Nou for the second leg of their Copa del Rey semi-final tie - which they trail 2-0 - next Wednesday.
With PSG in complete control of their Champions League last-16 tie, those two games will go a long way to determining whether Barca and Messi can salvage any silverware from a turbulent season, one which is expected to be his last with the club.