Real Madrid CF outclassed Sevilla FC 5-1 on Sunday to retain their one-point advantage over Valencia CF at the top of the Primera División standings.
Madrid, who lost 4-1 in the league to the Andalusian side at the Sánchez Pizjuán in November, began the match in perfect fashion, going ahead in the fifth minute when David Beckham picked out fellow midfield player Santiago Solari with a trademark long pass and the Argentine slammed a powerful left-foot shot past goalkeeper Esteban.
Beckham provided another precise assist for the second, angling in a cross from the right for a grateful Ronaldo. Júlio Baptista tucked away a penalty in the 59th minute to halve the deficit but Zinedine Zidane restored the home side's two-goal advantage almost immediately. Right-back Michel Salgado collected the fourth and Ronaldo sealed a convincing victory in added time.
Valencia victorySpanish international Vicente Rodríguez scored two and made another in a 3-0 away win against Real Racing Club Santander on Sunday that temporarily put his Valencia team top of the pile. Rafael Benítez's side struck first in the ninth minute, Miguel Angulo speeding down the left wing and slipping a pass for Vicente to blast in.
The visitors extended their lead on the stroke of half-time, David Albelda looping a clever pass into the path of Vicente, who had time to let the ball bounce before drilling in his shot. The winger rounded off his virtuoso performance 14 minutes from time, cutting inside two defenders and firing past Ricardo.
RC Deportivo La Coruña kept up the pressure on the top two on Saturday, defeating Real Sociedad de Fútbol 2-1 while Raúl Tamudo was twice on target as RCD Espanyol prevailed 2-1 against sixth-placed Athletic Club Bilbao in a match which saw both José María Lacruz and Luis Prieto sent off for the visitors.
Elsewhere on Sunday, bottom club Real Murcia CF earned three valuable points in their battle against relegation with a 2-0 home defeat of RCD Mallorca. Real Zaragoza eased away from the danger zone with another 2-0 victory at struggling RC Celta de Vigo.
UEFA Cup hopefuls Villarreal CF were held to a goalless draw at home by Club Atlético de Madrid, who moved fifth. Málaga CF and Albacete Balompié also shared the spoils in a match which finished 1-1, as did the encounter between Real Valladolid and CA Osasuna.
FC Barcelona's away fixture with Real Betis Balompié was postponed because of a torrential downpour in Seville which left the pitch heavily waterlogged. The Catalan team, in fourth, were bidding to extend their winning run in the league to ten matches.