Treble-hitting Turan steals the thunder
Not first choice for their clubs, but Barca's Turan and Arsenal's Perez prove a point
|(Lionel Messi 16, Arda Turan 50, 53, 67)|
All eyes were on Lionel Messi to see if he could equal Cristiano Ronaldo's Champions League group-stage goal record.
The Barcelona superstar scored one goal in the 4-0 rout of Borussia Moenchengladbach in the Group C clash yesterday morning (Singapore time) but, with 10 goals in this season's competition, Messi fell one short of matching Ronaldo's haul of 11 goals in the 2013-14 season.
Instead, it was Arda Turan who grabbed the spotlight with a 17-minute hat-trick.
The 29-year-old Turkey international, who was playing in the absence of the suspended Neymar, teed up Messi for his goal in the 16th minute before turning on the style in the second half.
He scored his first in the 50th minute, arriving at the far post to nod in Denis Suarez's deflected cross.
Turan found the net again three minutes later as he produced a crisp finish after a cut-back from the lively Aleix Vidal.
Barcelona have finished top of their Champions League group for the 10th straight season, a competition record.
Arda Turan has the best minute/goal rate in this season’s Champions League, averaging a goal every 36.5 minutes.
Turan completed his first treble for Barca by turning in Paco Alcacer's cross from close range in the 67th minute.
Turan's hat-trick, his first in eight and a half years, also saw him bag the best minutes/goal ratio in this season's Champions League.
He has racked up four goals after 146 minutes of play, averaging a goal every 36.5 minutes.
The hero of the night told uefa.com: "We are Barca - we are the best team in the world, so we try always to put in the best possible performance.
"We haven't had the best results over the last few weeks so we tried to remedy that.
"And we are really happy with how that turned out."
FOR THE TEAM
"We all work for the team, so if we win, we are happy. Who gets the goals is not important to us.
"We just want to be in contention on the last day of the season for the title, the Champions League and all the other trophies."
Praising Turan, Barca coach Luis Enrique said: "This season, he's been setting up a lot of goals. He's very useful when he plays on the left. I also like him when he plays inside. I'm happy for him." - WIRE SERVICES