The Argentina star netted in the first half as the Blaugrana reached second place with a home win.
Lionel Messi netted his 650th career goal for Barcelona with a first-half free-kick in Sunday's 2-1 win over Athletic Club.
Messi netted 20 minutes into the match at Camp Nou with a stunning set piece before the visitors answered back just after half-time through a Jordi Alba own goal.
Barca would find the winner with 15 minutes to play as Antoine Griezmann finished off a cross from Oscar Mingueza to seal victory.
Messi reached the 650-goal milestone for Barca on the same day the club threatened to take legal action against El Mundo after the newspaper published the details of his €555 million (£491m/$674m) contract.
The club legend was able to shift his focus to on-field matters by scoring his 49th direct free-kick for Barca, with 38 of those coming in La Liga.
Messi has now scored two direct free-kick goals from his last four attempts in all competitions, after netting just one from his previous 62 attempts.
Barcelona moved up to second place with Sunday's win but they are still 10 points behind Diego Simeone's high-flying Atletico Madrid side, who have also played one game fewer than the Blaugrana.
Catching Atletico will prove a major challenge in what could be Messi's final season at Barca, as his contract enters its final six months.
Speaking to Movistar after the match, Griezmann saluted his team-mate, who has been key to his side winning five consecutive matches in La Liga.
"Messi is a legend, we are enjoying him, and hopefully he will keep helping us win," the France international said.
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