Barcelona skipper Lionel Messi has extended his lead in the race to win the Pichichi Award this season in the Spanish La Liga after he scored the lone goal for his team in the disappointing 2-1 defeat at home to Granada on Thursday night.

The Pichichi Award is given to the player with the most goals in the Spanish La Liga and Messi is the favourites to win the award again this season ahead of other challengers like Karim Benzema of Real Madrid, Villarreal forward Gerard Moreno and Atletico Madrid attacker Luis Suarez.

Barcelona talisman Messi has won the Pichichi Award seven times and the Argentine national team captain is on course to win the award for the eighth time. He took his goal tally to 26 goals in the league to boost his FIFA Ballon d'Or chances for this year during the outstanding game against Granada.

Messi gave Barcelona the lead in the first half only for the Catalans to concede two second half goals to lose the game at the end of regulation time. Darwin Marchisequalised for Granada shortly after the hour mark before the experienced Jorge Molina headed home the winner when unmarked in the Barcelona box ten minutes from time to hand the home team a big blow in the title race. A win would have taken Barcelona one point clear at the La Liga summit but instead, they stay in third place and two points behind leaders Atletico Madrid ahead of the final five games of the season.

Lionel Messi came third in the FIFA Ballon d'Or Award race last year behind Cristiano Ronaldo and winner Robert Lewandowski. He had won the FIFA Ballon d'Or Award for the first time in 2019.