The big news in Spain this week was the throbbing vein in Cristiano Ronaldo's neck—it hadn't been seen pulsing quite like that since his last goal from a free kick, against the same opposition and goalkeeper, back in April.
While Real Madrid returned to winning ways against city rival Atletico, extending its winning streak to 23 matches over the past 13 years, Barcelona continued its march to what is known in Spain as the "winter championship" with a thumping 5-1 win over Athletic Bilbao. Leo Messi scored a brace to move to within one goal of Gerd Muller's record in a calendar year of 85 strikes, while Tito Vilanova's team smashed the record of Real Madrid in 1990-91 for the best start to a Liga season.
A two-horse race, then? Not exactly. Or at least not yet.
Atletico still sits five points clear of Real, but travels to Barcelona in a couple weeks, when that margin will probably be reduced by a further three points.
Valencia's 2-5 home loss to Real Sociedad was enough for the club to dispense with Mauricio Pellegrino, with the Argentinian claiming that the team had sacked him out of fear (Spanish language). " Of relegation? With Valencia's financial problems? I'm sure they are.
Here's the Liga XI of the week, based purely on performance.