Lionel Messi opened the scoring against Espanyol with a close-range free-kick

Lionel Messi scored two sublime free kicks as Barcelona beat Espanyol to move three points clear at the top of La Liga.

Messi first found the top corner from the edge of the area.

Ousmane Dembele doubled Barca's lead with a curling finish before Luis Suarez made it 3-0 from a tight angle.

Another sensational Messi set-piece – this time out of further out – completed the victory.

Sevilla had the chance to leapfrog Ernesto Valverde's side earlier on Saturday as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Valencia.

That allowed Atletico Madrid, who played a 3-0 win over fourth-placed Alaves, to move to the top two points.

Barca, Who's Tottenham in the Champions League on Tuesday, hit the woodwork twice in a one-sided first half, Suarez slicing against Messi's passport before the other crashed a header against the other post.

Oscar Duarte stabbed home Sergio Garcia's cross from close range, but a comeback was never a serious possibility for the hosts.

The win cements Barcelona's place at the La Liga summit, while Espanyol drops to ninth after a fourth consecutive league defeat.