Lionel Messi scored four as FC Barcelona swept aside CA Osasuna 5-1 and Cristiano Ronaldo hit a hat-trick for Real Madrid CF, while second-placed Club Atlético de Madrid fell 11 points off top spot after losing 3-0 at Athletic Club.
A Messi treble helped Barcelona down Osasuna 8-0 in this fixture last season, and there was a sense of deja vu as the same player shimmied his way to an 11th-minute opener. The goal marked the 11 consecutive Liga match in which Messi has found the net, giving the Argentinian forward yet another record.
Los Rojillos levelled through Raoul Loe on 24 minutes, but any momentum was extinguished three minutes later. Alejandro Arribas' handball earned the defender a second yellow card and gifted Messi the chance to retake the lead from the penalty spot; he seized it with aplomb, taking his career Liga goal tally to 200.
Osasuna's uphill task became a near-impossible mission when Pedro Rodríguez tapped in before the break, and Messi hit two goals in two minutes before the hour mark to put Barça out of sight.
Ronaldo was in superb form too, notching a 'perfect' ten-minute second-half hat-trick after Sergio Ramos had bundled Madrid ahead against city rivals Getafe CF on 53 minutes. The Portuguese forward nodded in a goal of his own between a left-footed finish and a right-footed penalty to seal an impressive win.
The result also moved the Merengues within four points of Atlético, who suffered their fourth league defeat this term against fellow 2012 UEFA Europa League finalists Athletic. Also on Sunday, Málaga CF climbed up to fourth with a 3-2 success at RCD Mallorca and Rayo Vallecano de Madrid eased to a 3-0 win at home against Real Betis Balompié.
© 1998-2014 UEFA. All rights reserved.