On a Sunday where the Premier League was handed the slim possibility of a shake up as Liverpool overcame the until then unbeaten Manchester City, La Liga had looked set for a similarly surprising result.
Although Barcelona's more modest nine-point margin over 2nd placed Atletico Madrid isn't quite the foregone conclusion that City have turned the Premier League into, it looked likely that the gap could be just six when Real Sociedad took a 2-0 lead tonight at home to the leaders.
Given that the Catalans had not won a league match here since 2007, David Moyes' former side had reason to be confident.
Yet, as so often happens, Barcelona's Lionel Messi put an end to any potential misery and dug Barcelona out of a hole of their own making.
After Paulinho had grabbed one back for Barcelona in fairly unfavourable weather conditions, Messi fed Luis Suarez for the equaliser.
While Suarez himself must take most of the credit for this finish, how Messi just attracted every opposing defender toward him before deftly passing it off to the Uruguayan is a sight to behold.
With Barcelona going 3-2 ahead through Suarez again, it was Messi who would ultimately steal the show. A free-kick from an improbable range (even for him), it simply served to remind the converted of how utterly incredible the Argentine is.
Messi has just scored with a most ridiculous free-kick. He plays a game that mere mortals couldn’t even dream of playing.
— Gary Lineker 💙💛 (@GaryLineker) January 14, 2018
Lionel Messi. Oh my word.
— DaveOCKOP (@DaveOCKOP) January 14, 2018
I am a HUGGGE Ronaldo fan... but Lionel Messi is from another planet... the guy is a magician... who just saw that free kick 😩👏🏾🙌🏾🔥 #messi #barca
— GRIFF ✂ (@Known_as_Griff) January 14, 2018
Lionel Messi. Not shit.
— Ian Doyle (@IanDoyleSport) January 14, 2018
You can watch his free-kick below. It was a goal that sends him ahead of Bayern Munich's Gerd Muller in terms of league goals scored in Europe's top five leagues.
To be honest though, the astonished laughter of the commentators is almost as enjoyable as the goal itself.