Real Madrid stayed a point clear of Barcelona but it was the Catalans who thrilled the fans with Lionel Messi equalling Ronaldo's La Liga hat-trick record in the thrashing of Levante.
Real Madrid stayed a point clear of Barcelona but it was the Catalans who thrilled the fans with Lionel Messi equalling Ronaldo’s La Liga hat-trick record in the thrashing of Levante.
Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich notched their biggest league win in 31 years when they crushed Hamburg, while Juventus and AS Roma were both held to draws in Serie A.
FA Cup giantkillers Bradford City were at it again on Sunday when they beat top flight Sunderland 2-0 to reach the last eight where they were joined by holders Arsenal and Aston Villa.
La Liga leaders Real Madrid returned to winning ways after last weekend’s drubbing at Atletico Madrid but failed to convince and were whistled by their own fans during a drab 2-0 victory at home to Deportivo La Coruna on Saturday.
The uninspiring performance at the Bernabeu, with goals from Isco and Karim Benzema, maintained Real’s one-point lead over second-placed Barcelona, who thrashed Levante 5-0 at the Nou Camp thanks to another Lionel Messi hat-trick.
Atletico’s hopes of a second consecutive title were dealt a blow when the off-colour champions lost 2-0 at mid-table Celta Vigo on Sunday to slip six points behind Barca in third.
Messi marked his 300th league game with a record-equalling hat-trick and an assist for Neymar as Barca secured their 11th consecutive victory in all competitions, matching their best run under decorated former coach Pep Guardiola at the end of 2008.
After Neymar opened the scoring, Messi netted his 23rd La Liga treble, giving him a share of the record set by Real’s Cristiano Ronaldo earlier this season, and substitute Luis Suarez struck Barca’s fifth with an acrobatic volley.
Leaders Bayern Munich notched their biggest league win in 31 years when they crushed hapless Hamburg SV 8-0 with Arjen Robben scoring two goals to go joint top of the scorers list on 14.
Bayern handed Hamburg the heaviest defeat in their 52-year Bundesliga history to stay eight points clear of second-placed VfL Wolfsburg, who edged Bayer Leverkusen 5-4 with four goals from Dutchman Bas Dost.
Last season’s runners-up Borussia Dortmund beat Mainz 05 4-2 on Friday to score their first back-to-back league wins since the start of the season and move out of the relegation zone for the first time in months as they moved up to 15th.
Juventus stayed seven points clear of AS Roma after the leading pair were held to draws by relegation-threatened teams.
Arturo Vidal missed a late penalty as Juve (54 points) drew 2-2 at Cesena, who are second-bottom.
Milan Djuric gave the Sea Horses a shock lead, Alvaro Morata and Claudio Marchisio replied to put Juve ahead before halftime and Franco Brienza levelled midway through the second half.
Roma (47) drew 0-0 at home to bottom side Parma while third-placed Napoli (42) lost 3-1 at Palermo and are four points ahead of Fiorentina who won by the same score at Sassuolo.
Bradford City, conquerors of Chelsea in the fourth round of the FA Cup, reached the quarter-finals after another sensational display in the 2-0 defeat of Premier League side Sunderland.
The third-tier side are hoping to land one of the big fish in Monday’s last-eight draw, like holders and favourites Arsenal, who beat Middlesbrough 2-0 in the fifth round with two first-half goals in two minutes from Olivier Giroud.
Liverpool also reached the sixth round, coming from behind to win 2-1 at Crystal Palace as goals by England internationals Daniel Sturridge and Adam Lallana ruined the potential fairytale of home boss Alan Pardew again downing the Merseysiders, just as he did as a player in the 1990 semi-final.
New Aston Villa manager Tim Sherwood passed on a few words of wisdom at halftime as his side make the last eight with a 2-0 home win over fellow Premier League strugglers Leicester City.
Olympique Lyonnais retained a two-point Ligue 1 lead after none of the top five teams won at the weekend.
Clinton Njie salvaged a 1-1 draw at Lorient to put OL on 51 points from 25 games.
Olympique de Marseille are second after drawing 2-2 at home to Stade de Reims on Friday before Paris St Germain, third also with 49 points, drew by the same scoreline against lowly Caen.
PSG finished their game with nine men after being hit by four injuries and conceded two late goals.
PSV Eindhoven maintained their 12 point advantage over Ajax Amsterdam at the top of the Dutch league after Luuk de Jong’s hat-trick led his side to a 4-2 victory at AZ Alkmaar on Friday.
Ajax’s Ricardo Kishna struck twice as they recovered to beat Twente Enschede 4-2 but third-placed Feyenoord suffered a shock 2-0 defeat by Heracles Almelo and are 20 points off the pace.