Lionel Messi scored the 50th hat trick of his career to help Barcelona twice recover from a goal down and win 4-2 at Sevilla on Saturday. Messi's first came from a superb volley before he curled home from the edge of the area and then clipped in a neat finish to complete his treble. It was the 32nd hat trick of Messi's La Liga career, while he has notched eight in the Champions League, three in the Copa del Rey, one in the Spanish Super Cup and six in international competition with Argentina.
As riot police clashed with huge crowds in Barcelona during last weekend's banned Catalonian independence referendum, the city's soccer team played a game in front of 98,000 empty seats after closing its Camp Nou stadium amid safety fears. Hours later, Real Madrid kicked off another game to the cheers of supporters waving Spanish flags and placards declaring “Todos somos España” (We are all Spain) and “Viva España!” (Long live Spain!). This collision of identity politics and sport — an echo of President Donald Trump's culture war against kneeling in the NFL — illustrates the importance of soccer in the psyche of the Iberian peninsula.
Barcelona have agreed terms with Borussia Dortmund for the transfer of attacker Ousmane Dembele, subject to the completion of his medical. Barca will pay an initial fee of €105 million, and Dortmund confirmed that add-ons could see the fee rise by 40 percent -- taking the deal to a potential €147m. France international Dembele, 20, arrives to fill the void left by Neymar's €222m departure to Paris Saint-Germain, who paid the Brazilian's full release clause earlier this summer for the largest transfer fee in history.