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Messi shines, Rakitic scores as Barca regain top spot in La Liga

Lionel Messi put up a brilliant performance and provided an assist to the only goal in Barcelona’s 1-0 win over Athletic Bilbao.

After a goalless first half, mainly due to the frustration of the hosts by Bilbao, Messi created the opportunity as Ivan Rakitic scored the winner on 71 minutes.

The victory takes Barca back to the top of La Liga, three points above second-placed Real Madrid, who have one game in hand.

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The lead would last for 24 hours at least, as Real Madrid will fight to go back to the top when they play Mallorca on Wednesday.

Messi has gone two games without a goal. A last-minute free kick he took against Bilbao would have meant a lot, but it hit the wall.

The Argentine is seeking to score his 700th career goal – for club and country. He also turns 33 years old on Wednesday.

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Ben Ugbana

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