MADRID (Reuters) - Cristiano Ronaldo struck twice as leaders Real Madrid subdued Eibar 4-0 on Saturday while Lionel Messi set a La Liga record of 253 goals with a hat-trick in second-placed Barcelona’s 5-1 rout of Sevilla.
James Rodriguez nodded Real in front in the 23rd minute at Eibar’s tiny Ipurua stadium in the Basque Country, which holds fewer than 6,000 spectators, and Ronaldo’s scuffed shot made it 2-0 just before the break.
Karim Benzema cracked the third in the 69th minute and Ronaldo netted from the penalty spot seven minutes from time as the European champions swept to a 14th victory in a row in all competitions.
Top-flight debutants Eibar, whose entire squad is worth roughly as much as Ronaldo’s annual wages of 20 million euros ($24.8 million), created several scoring chances but were outclassed by Real’s galaxy of superstars.
The latest victory put the world’s richest club by income two points clear at the top with 30 points from 12 matches during which they have amassed 46 goals, 20 of them coming from Ronaldo in 11 appearances.
“A defeat will come of course but our goal is to continue this run,” Real coach Carlo Ancelotti told a news conference.
“The team is in good shape and all the players are motivated and doing fantastic work,” added the Italian.
At the Nou Camp, Messi matched Telmo Zarra’s 1955 record of 251 goals when he curled in a delightful free kick to give Barca a 21st-minute lead.
The 27-year-old Argentina captain’s effort was canceled out by a Jordi Alba own goal in the 47th minute before Neymar headed in a Xavi free kick two minutes later.
Uruguay forward Luis Suarez, still to open his account with his new club, set up Ivan Rakitic to nod Barca’s third in the 65th minute and Messi completed his 30th career treble with goals in the 72nd and 78th.
“There are an infinity of Messi’s goals that I have enjoyed,” said Barca coach Luis Enrique.
“He cannot be compared with any other player I have seen,” added the former Spain midfielder.
“He is unique. We have him now and we enjoy him. I thought nobody would overtake Zarra and look what happened.”
Barca are two points behind Real who beat them 3-1 in Madrid last month.
Atletico Madrid climbed into third spot above Valencia, who play at city rivals Levante on Sunday, after midfielder Tiago scored one goal and created another for Diego Godin in a 3-1 win for the champions at home to Malaga.
Tiago nodded Koke’s corner powerfully into the net in the 13th minute at the Calderon and the lively Antoine Griezmann tapped home an Arda Turan center three minutes before halftime.
Roque Santa Cruz set nerves jangling when he pulled a goal back for sixth-placed Malaga just after the hour but their chances were extinguished when forward Samuel picked up a second yellow card in the 73rd minute.
Atletico made sure of the points when Tiago hooked the ball to the back post for an unmarked Godin to head home six minutes from time before captain Gabi picked up his second caution in the 88th.
Diego Simeone’s side, who won their first top-flight title in 18 years last season, have 26 points, two ahead of Valencia.
David Moyes was denied a win on his debut as coach of Real Sociedad when the Basque club shared a drab 0-0 draw at promoted Deportivo La Coruna.
($1 = 0.8072 euro)
Editing by Toby Davis