Ronaldo, Messi score freely
BARCELONA, Spain (AP):
Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi scored goals in bunches yesterday as leaders Real Madrid stayed one point ahead of Barcelona with the Spanish league reaching its halfway point.
Ronaldo netted a second-half brace as Real won 3-0 at Getafe, while Messi struck his 30th career hat-trick for Barcelona to spearhead their 4-0 rout at Deportivo La CoruÒa.
Ronaldo took his league-leading tally to 28 goals. Messi trails his rival forward with 19.
Defending champions Atletico Madrid did their part to stay in the title race and set up a promising second half of the season by beating bottom side Granada 2-0, remaining in third place, four points behind Real.
Real still have a game in hand to be played next month against Sevilla, which also stayed in the hunt in fourth by beating Malaga 2-0 to remain the league's only unbeaten home team.
"We didn't come back from Christmas in the best shape," Ancelotti said. "James (Rodriguez) played an extraordinary game. He is getting back to his top form. Little by little the entire team is recovering its best form."
Bale ended the match limping, but Ancelotti said it was only a "knock".
Messi tormented Deportivo from kickoff, drawing a save from goalkeeper Fabricio Agosto seconds before Ivan Rakitic met his run with a lobbed pass over the defence that the Argentina forward headed over Agosto in the 10th.
"Messi has been playing at a very high level all season, he hasn't dipped at any moment," said Barcelona coach Luis Enrique, who has been at the centre of media reports saying his relationship with the team's all-time scorer had soured. "Messi is a world class star."
Elsewhere, Elche edged 10-man Levante 1-0 after Jonathas scored following David Navarro's receiving a red card in the fifth. Both Levante's Diego Marino and Elche 'keeper Przemyslaw Tyton saved penalties.