Neymar, Messi, Bale and Ronaldo Watch
Barcelona and Real Madrid were both in action on Saturday evening, racking up victories to keep the points total moving in the right direction. But only two of our four talents, amongst the most highly rated players on the planet, were in action.
Which duo of superstars are clicking as the season goes on, and who still needs a little work to find their best? Read on here to find out...
Denis Doyle/Getty Images
Barcelona had few problems disposing of Valladolid at home. Inspired by two goals from Alexis Sanchez, the Blaugrana handed coach Gerardo Martino an eighth successive win in a 4-1 thrashing of Saturday's visitors.
What was even more impressive than continuing their 100 percent record for yet another fixture, however, was that Barca did it without Lionel Messi. A thigh injury sustained against Almeria will keep the Argentine star out for another two weeks, per BBC, meaning Messi was forced to watch from the sidelines as his side ran rampant.
David Ramos/Getty Images
With Messi's absence, the pressure was on Neymar to show that he could continue his gradual evolution into a Barca star without one of the world's best attackers alongside him. After an indifferent game against Celtic, this performance was more like it for the young Brazilian.
Neymar showed an electric change of pace to beat two defenders and set in motion's Xavi's goal, which put Barcelona into the lead after falling behind early on. A perfectly weighted pass then fell into the path of Alexis, who finished expertly.
The Brazilian's impressive display was capped 20 minutes from the end, when Alexis returned him the favour with a short pass drilled mercilessly into the bottom corner.
David Ramos/Getty Images
The Welsh world-record signing is really not having the best of introductions to Spanish football. Gareth Bale has been available only in fits and starts since completing the move from Tottenham, and on his home debut against Atletico Madrid, he did not convince at all off the bench.
A further injury to the left thigh, via Guardian, kept Bale out of the squad midweek against Copenhagen, and again during yet another agonising victory for Madrid.
Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images
In yet another Liga clash, the Merengue were well under par and struggling against opposition they expect to dispose of with ease. And yet again, Cristiano Ronaldo was on hand late in the game to save his team and keep them in touch at the top of the table.
After Madrid had twice come back from behind, and at 2-2 three minutes into injury time, the Portuguese striker made his move. His strike from the edge of the area hit a Levante player, it hit the post and still somehow it finished in the back of the net. Ronaldo was ecstatic, and so were Madrid fans as they rescued a vital three points.