Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde was left in awe of star-man Lionel Messi on Saturday evening following his side's 5-0 win over local rivals Espanyol in the Derbi Barceloni.
The 30-year-old attacking maestro was once again the key player in a Catalonian giants' dominant performance, netting a well-taken, but slightly fortunate, hat-trick - with two in the first 45 minutes and one in the second.
There were questions left over the linesman's decision to allow the Argentina international's opener, after it was clear the attacker was in an offside position when receiving Ivan Rakitic's through ball, before displaying the outrageous intricate trickery we have all come to expect from one of the world's best and firing Barca into the lead.
Messi then doubled Barcelona's tally before the break after an unfortunate deflection on
However, Messi, as is so often the case, once again took the headlines, and his boss was all too happy to shower the future hall of famer with praise following his "extraordinary" performance.
"I am happy for Leo who scored three goals and is extraordinary", Valverde told the post-match press conference, as reported by Sky Sports.
"We pulled through a complicated game, because these kinds of matches are always tough.
"Despite the result, it wasn't easy. Espanyol fought very well, but we have great players like Messi, who scored three goals, and Suarez, who gave everything like the rest of the team."
The result continues Barcelona's 100% winning record, of which there are now only two teams in La Liga to boast such an achievement, and lifts the Catalonians four points above title holders Real Madrid, who were held to their second draw of the campaign earlier in the day.
However, Valverde is not losing sight on the fact there is still a long way to go in this year's competition, but believes his side have started in the right manner.
"We are at the beginning of the season and the distances are not significant, but it is better to be ahead than behind", the 53-year-old said.
The Spanish manager resisted the temptation to throw new signing
"The idea is to give Dembele minutes, we have a lot of hopes for him and this game was a first step", Valverde concluded.
"His team-mates know that he has real quality."
Barca will now prepare for their opening fixture of their 2017/18 Champions League campaign on Tuesday night, when last year's finalists - and the side who overcame the Catalonians last time around - Juventus visit the holy footballing