Lionel Messi scored twice for Barcelona as they ended their La Liga campaign with a resounding 5-0 win at Alavés, easing the pain of their midweek home defeat to Osasuna.
Teenage forward Ansu Fati put Barça in front midway through the first half after the visitors had already hit the woodwork three times.
Messi rounded the keeper to make it two and Luis Suárez added a third before half-time, against opponents who had secured top-flight survival on Thursday by beating Real Betis.
Defender Nelson Semedo scored a fourth early in the second half before Messi struck again, sweeping home for his 25th league goal of the season.
The Argentinian is four goals clear of Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema and almost certain to win the Pichichi top scorer award for a record seventh time.
Having labelled his team weak and inconsistent after the loss to Osasuna, the Barça captain struck a more positive tone in his post-match interview here, saying the team felt more confident for their Champions League last-16 second leg with Napoli.
“Today we saw something else, it was a difficult game due to the kick-off time and heat, but the team responded with a different attitude and showed great commitment,” Messi said. “We took a long hard look at ourselves from the inside which is what we needed to do.
“We have not had a good season but today we took a step forward.
“It’s an important step for what’s coming next.”