Cristiano Ronaldo struck again in Real Madrid’s 5-0 rout at Almeria before going off injured, while Barcelona didn’t miss sidelined star Lionel Messi as they eased past 10-man Granada 4-0 to retain the Spanish soccer league lead on Saturday.
Not to be outdone, Atletico Madrid bettered their title rivals by demolishing Getafe 7-0 with Diego Costa returning from injury to score with a brilliant bicycle kick.
Barcelona leads Atletico by three points with Madrid trailing the defending champions by six points.
Mexico forward Carlos Vela found the net four times to rally Real Sociedad back from a two-goal deficit for a 4-3 victory against 10-man Celta Vigo to round out a free-scoring Saturday of La Liga action that featured 23 goals.
Fresh from scoring four to lead Portugal past Sweden in their World Cup qualifying playoffs, Ronaldo extended his scoring run to eight straight games for club and country by grabbing Madrid’s third-minute opener.
Ronaldo walked off the pitch in the 52nd minute with a suspected hamstring injury before Karim Benzema, Gareth Bale, Isco Alarcon and Alvaro Morata added goals.
“It was for precaution,” Ronaldo said.
“It’s nothing special. I was kicked in the first half and had the muscle a little stiff.”
Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti said Ronaldo had “a problem with his hamstring” and he would undergo more tests on Sunday.
Andres Iniesta and Cesc Fabregas earned and converted penalties to help injury-battered Barcelona overcome the absence of Messi and four more first-choice players.
“Those of us who are left have to take care of ourselves,” Iniesta said.
“When we reach April or May it will be a question of having everyone doing their part.”
Ronaldo and Messi are their teams’ undisputed leaders and the two top scorers in the sport, but their teammates showed they have more than enough attacking talent to get by without them.
“Barcelona was missing players? I didn’t realise it,” Granada coach Luis Alcaraz said after his side slumped to a 4-0 loss despite the absence of Messi, Xavi Hernandez, Dani Alves, Jordi Alba, and goalkeeper Victor Valdes.
Ronaldo is vying to end Messi’s unprecedented run of four straight Ballon d’Or awards.
Messi won’t be back from a left hamstring tear until January.
Ronaldo, if fit, will have one more chance to impress voters on Wednesday when Madrid hosts Galatasaray in the Champions League before voting for the 2013 award closes on Friday.