Sun, 02 Dec 2012 13:45:00 GMT | By AFP

Messi at double as Barcelona make record start

Messi scored twice in Barcelona’s 5-1 thumping over Athletic Bilbao

Messi at double as Barcelona make record start (© Reuters)

Madrid: Lionel Messi scored twice as Barcelona beat Athletic Bilbao 5-1 to set a new record start to a La Liga season and open a 14-point gap on bitter rivals Real Madrid who later face a crunch derby with in-form Atletico.

Gerard Pique put the Catalan side ahead after 22 minutes followed quickly by Messi's first, which came off defender Fernando Amorebieta on the line, before Adriano Correia hit the third on the point of half-time.

Cesc Fabregas then added to the deluge of goals and Ibai Gomez got a consolation before Messi struck again.

Barca have now put together 13 wins and a draw from their first 14 matches to beat the previous best start in the Spanish top flight by Real Madrid in the 1991-92 season.

Messi also is now just one goal off Gerd Mueller's record of 85 goals in a calendar year for Bayern Munich and Germany in 1972.

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