Messi and Ronaldo hit hat-tricks
Lionel Messi matched Cristiano Ronaldo's hat-trick as Barcelona turned on the style to dismiss in-form Atletico Madrid 5-0 at the Nou Camp.
With the Rojiblancos having scored eight goals in their last two outings and Barcelona labouring against Valencia in midweek, some thought a shock may have been on the cards.
But Pep Guardiola's men laid on a performance reminiscent of the one that saw them hit Osasuna for eight last Saturday, with Messi joined on the scoresheet by David Villa, while Joao Miranda also put through his own goal.
Cristiano Ronaldo scored his second hat-trick of the season as 10-man Real Madrid ended a poor week with a 6-2 victory over Rayo Vallecano - although it was not all plain sailing for Jose Mourinho's men.
Madrid came into the match in the spotlight having picked up just one point from their away games at Levante and Racing Santander and the title hopefuls could hardly have had a worse start as poor defending saw them trailing after just 14 seconds, Miguel Perez Cuesta the scorer.
Madrid seemingly put that dismal beginning behind them with three goals in 13 minutes either side of half-time through Ronaldo (two) and Gonzalo Higuain, but the hosts soon found themselves with more problems.
Rayo pulled a goal back in the 55th minute through Cuesta and then two minutes later Madrid lost Angel Di Maria to a second yellow card.
That left Madrid facing a potentially crucial final half-hour with a man less, knowing more dropped points - especially at home - could be decisive come the end of the season.
However, it was Mourinho's men who seemed to adapt better to the dismissal as they netted three more times to take the win, Raphael Varane, Karim Benzema and Ronaldo - with his second penalty of the match to complete his hat-trick - the goalscorers.
Freddie Kanoute's goal gave Sevilla a 1-0 victory over previously unbeaten Valencia in a game dominated by three red cards at the Sanchez Pizjuan.
Kanoute put Sevilla in front on 18 minutes after being sent clear by Jesus Navas.
Sevilla should have been more than one up at the break but were denied by Vicente Guaita on numerous occasions and the hosts were nearly made to pay for those wasted opportunities as first Piotr Trochowski and then Julien Escude were sent off.
Escude's dismissal also resulted in a penalty for Valencia which Ever Banega hit against the post before the visitors were also reduced to 10 men for Artiz Aduriz's apparent stamp on Emir Spahic.
A second-half equaliser from Nilmar earned Villarreal a deserved 1-1 draw at Athletico Bilbao and ensured that the home side's winless streak under Marcelo Bielsa continues.
Igor Gabilondo gave the hosts the lead just before half-time as he stretched to fire home Andoni Iraola's cross into the middle.
But Villarreal were back on level terms eight minutes after the break as Giuseppe Rossi drove into the box and laid the ball across for Nilmar to finish at the back post.
The hosts were then reduced to 10 men with 10 minutes to go as Borja Ekiza was shown his second yellow card for bringing down Nilmar as Villarreal counter-attacked, but Athletic held on for a point.