The battle at the top of La Liga in Spain took another twist at the weekend, as reigning champions Atletico lost ground on the top two teams. With both Real Madrid and Barcelona claiming victories in their fixtures, Atletico were beaten away from home by mid-table side Celta Vigo. The loss leaves Atletico a mighty seven points behind leaders Real, with Barca just a point behind them and waiting for another slip up by Ronaldo's Champions League holders.

With Real having extended their lead at the top on Saturday over Barca to four points, thanks to a solid 2-0 home success over Deportivo de la Coruna, Barca responded in style with a crushing 5-0 victory over relegation-threatened Levante on Sunday, to resume their close pursuit of the ten-time European champions.

Atletico were unable to do likewise, failing to build on their recent derby thrashing of Real, and falling to a disappointing 2-0 reversal instead.

Barcelona cruised through their win over Levante. Brazilian hot shot Neymar opened their account on 19 minutes, before the mercurial Lionel Messi took centre-stage once again. Seven minutes before the interval, the Argentinian doubled the home side's advantage with a drilled shot to ensure a relaxed half-time break for the Catalan side. After tapping in his second goal of the night on 59 minutes, he claimed the match-ball yet again with a third just six minutes later from the penalty spot, after Neymar had been fouled in the area. His hat-trick was the 23rd of his career on his 300th La Liga appearance for the famous club.

For a genius that seems to keep on re-writing the records books, it was his 269th goal in 300 league matches and 26th of this season. If Ronaldo's agent believes that his man is worth £300 million, one wonders what price would be sufficient to lure Messi away from La Liga.

Even Messi was slightly upstaged against Levante though, by the goal of the night from the Uruguayan bad boy Luis Suarez, eventually finding his feet in Spain after a shaky start.

His brief appearance from the bench was lit up by an acrobatic volley, come scissor-kick, from Adriano's cross.

Twenty-four hours before, Real had scored a goal in both halves to maintain their advantage at the top of the table. No Ronaldo among the scorers for once, although he did hit the bar, instead it was Isco who curled in their 22nd minute opener.

Karim Benzema made the points safe with a neat finish on 73 minutes, dinking his shot over the onrushing keeper.

Atletico's miserable loss was the result of two second-half goals by Celta Vigo. They went behind just before the hour mark from the penalty spot, when Nolito (Manuel Agudo Duran) was fouled and then scored the resultant spot-kick, despite what looked like a clear handball in the build up to the move. Antoine Griezmann hit the post for Atletico in response, but the hosts claimed a deserved win when Fabian Orellana netted their second.