Madrid (Agencies): Barcelona scripted history by winning record 16th successive Spanish League match beating Real Madrid.

Lionel Messi’s hat-trick helped Barcelona win over Atletico Madrid at Camp Nou as the defending champions opened up a 10-point lead over Real Madrid who face Real Sociedad on Sunday.

Argentine Messi passed through the Atletico defence to give Barcelona the lead in the 17th minute and, after wasting a further chance, he pounced again in the 28th minute.

"We wouldn't be here where we are if it wasn't for Leo in our team," said Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola of his Argentine superstar.

"Without him we wouldn't have won so comfortably. You always need to have players who can do something different.

"Real Madrid won 15 because they had Di Stefano. We have now won 16 because we have Messi."

Atletico coach Quique Sanchez Flores was full of praise for Messi.

"He is the best player I have seen - the Di Stefano of the 21st century. It was an amazing performance from Barcelona, they are the number one side and have the capacity to hypnotise the opposition."

Real Madrid now face the huge task of clawing back the points difference on Sunday.