Cristiano Ronaldo made it 199 goals for Real Madrid in less than four seasons as two towering headers helped earn an entertaining 4-3 win over Real Valladolid.
The hosts bounced back from their Champions League elimination at the hands of Borussia Dortmund to keep the Primera Division title race alive for one more weekend at least.
The build-up to the match was dominated by the future of coach Jose Mourinho and his expected departure to Chelsea, but, should he leave, Ronaldo is one player he would certainly miss.
He helped the hosts recover from conceding an early goal to Oscar, making it 2-1 after Angel Di Maria had levelled.
Javi Guerra equalised before the break for the visitors, but second-half efforts from Kaka and Ronaldo looked to have got Madrid home and dry. Sastre's brilliant volley got Valladolid a late third, but there was no dramatic equaliser.
The win saw Madrid close the gap on Barcelona to eight points ahead of their home match with Real Betis on Sunday.
Third-placed Atletico Madrid were held to a 0-0 draw by relegation-threatened Deportivo La Coruna.
Valencia thrashed Osasuna 4-0 at the Mestalla to strike a blow to the visitors' hopes of avoiding relegation.
Two goals late in the first half from Roberto Soldado and Ricardo Costa gave the hosts a comfortable lead and the second half became a formality after Alejandro Arribas was sent off and Ever Banega scored from the resulting free-kick.
David Timor then also saw red and Jonas added to the visitors' pain by scoring a penalty in injury time.
The win put Los Che to within two points of Real Sociedad in fourth place, but the Basques can extend that lead when they travel to Getafe on Monday night.
Odion Ighalo's goal gave Granada a 1-0 win over Malaga and provided a huge boost in their bid to avoid relegation.
The Nigerian's goal midway through the first half took Lucas Alcaraz's side further clear of the drop zone and struck a blow to Malaga's already slim hopes of reclaiming fourth spot from Real Sociedad.
Information from the Press Association was used in this report