Lionel Messi on target for record-setting Barcelona
Unbeaten leaders Barcelona ended the first half of the season with a record 55 of a possible 57 points when Messi scored one goal and had a hand in two more in a 3-1 win at Malaga on Sunday.
An 18th victory in 19 games for Tito Vilanova's side restored their 11-point lead over second-placed Atletico Madrid, who earlier secured a 10th win in 10 home matches this term with a 2-0 success against Real Zaragoza.
Barca's win also extended their advantage over arch rivals Real Madrid to 18 points after the stuttering champions, mired in third, were held to a 0-0 draw at bottom side Osasuna on Saturday.Messi's goal was the World Player of the Year's 28th in the league this season and the ninth straight game he has scored, a personal best and one short of the La Liga record last achieved in the 1996-97 season by former Barca striker Ronaldo.
Manchester United maintained their seven-point lead at the top of the Premier League with a 2-1 home win over Liverpool where hotshot Van Persie opened the scoring before a nervous finish.
Nemanja Vidic put United
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