FC Barcelona continued their blistering start to the Liga campaign and are now three points clear of Club Atlético de Madrid after the capital club lost for the first time since 11 April.
Although new father Lionel Messi did not score for the Blaugrana against RC Celta de Vigo, his team triumphed 3-1. They led on 21 minutes when Adriano turned in Pedro Rodríguez's cross. Mario Bermejo swiftly equalised for the visitors, but two minutes later David Villa restored Barcelona's advantage.
Just past the hour mark the Spain forward set up Jordi Alba for the third, although by then Adriano had limped off with an adductor injury. Atlético had Ricardo Costa sent off late on in a 2-0 reverse at Valencia CF, their first in 24 matches in all competitions.
Gonzalo Higuaín broke the deadlock for Real Madrid CF in the 23rd minute at home to Real Zaragoza, not long before Ángel Di María embarked on a solo run and beat Javi Varas at the second attempt. Late on, Michael Essien and Luka Modrić scored their first Madrid goals.
The 4-0 win keeps the Merengues within eight points of the leaders and takes them into third ahead of Málaga CF, who lost at home for the first time this season, 2-1 to Rayo Vallecano de Madrid.
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