SPORTS

FC Barcleona Wins Champions League Opener Thanks To Lionel Messi Hat Trick

Barcelona's Lionel Messi celebrates scoring 1-0 during the Champions League group H soccer match between Ajax Amsterdam and F.C. Barcelona on Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2013, at Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

Barcelona's Lionel Messi celebrates scoring 1-0 during the Champions League group H soccer match between Ajax Amsterdam and F.C. Barcelona on Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2013, at Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)  (A2013)

FC Barcelona opened its Champions League's run in a huge way with a 4-0 win over Ajax . And it was all thanks to a hat trick by Lionel Messi.

At the Camp Nou on Wednesday, Messi scored his 60th, 61st and 62nd career goals in his 80th Champions League match.

"Barcelona is full of individual talents," Barcelona coach Gerardo Martino said. "Today we can talk about Messi and Valdes, another day Xavi or Neymar. It is normal that one of them rises to the occasion."

Messi, the four-time FIFA world player of the year, opened the scoring in the 22nd minute after he was fouled on the edge of Ajax's area, then stepped up to fire in a perfect-placed free kick.

The Argentina forward made it 2-0 in the 55th by hitting on the break when the Dutch team Ajax was caught looking for the equalizer.

Neymar, in his European debut, set up Gerard Pique to add Barcelona's third goal in the 69th before Messi completed his hat trick in the 75th.

Messi's goals leave him nine goals short of Raul Gonzalez's all-time record of 71.

Barcelona and Milan are atop Group H, although the Rossoneri didn't take the lead until eight minutes from time with an own goal before Sulley Muntari sealed the result two minutes later.

Based on reporting by The Associated Press.

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