Barcelona's Luis Suarez admits it's a privilege to play with Lionel Messi

Messi hat-trick fires Barca past Espanyol

Messi opened scoring in the 26th minute amid suspicion of offside and doubled the lead 10 minutes before the break.

Should Barca pick up three points against their neighbours, they would move four points clear of their Clasico rivals in the early Primera Division standings, easing the pressure on an embattled board.

The 30-year-old suffered a knee injury during Barca's Supercopa de Espana defeat to Real Madrid last month but joined up with Uruguay during the recent global break - only to provoke further fears over his fitness by pulling up with calf cramp in the 0-0 draw against Argentina.

The loss of the Brazil striker had sparked speculation Messi could follow him in leaving Camp Nou, with the Argentine yet to sign the new contract he agreed with the club in July.

Suarez himself has a a sensational record since joining the five time European champions, and he realises that the league season is only just beginning but is also aware that each and every point could prove vital in deciding where the La Liga trophy will rest come May.

"'I am happy for Leo who scored three goals and is extraordinary".

"We pulled through a complicated game, because these kinds of matches are always tough".

'Despite the result, it wasn't easy.

Valverde said he was pleased to be ahead of Madrid, although he conceded it meant little so early in the season. 'We have to learn and be careful with the details, but there is nothing from this match which does not make us stronger'.

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