Cristiano Ronaldo moved up to second in La Liga's all-time scoring charts on Saturday after netting four goals in a 7-1 thrashing of Celta Vigo, where Gareth Bale also scored on his return from injury.
Pepe opened the scoring for Zinedine Zidane's side before Ronaldo's spree, combined with goals from Bale and Jese, led Los Merengues to their second consecutive win—not to mention their first home victory since falling to rivals Atletico last Saturday.
Elsewhere, Las Palmas followed up a surprise win at Eibar by beating Villarreal by an identical scoreline at El Madrigal on Saturday to seal their second away victory in as many matches.
Getafe struck late to deny Sevilla their first away win of the season, drawing 1-1 in Madrid, before a late flurry of goals saw Deportivo La Coruna draw 3-3 at home to Malaga in the late fixture.
Leaders Barcelona and Atletico Madrid travel to Eibar and Valencia, respectively, on Sunday as they seek to keep Real at arm's length, with Los Blancos hoping their Spanish peers can strip the pair of points.
Read on as we provide an updated look at La Liga's 2015-16 standings in the wake of Saturday's results.
|12||Deportivo La Coruna||28||6||15||7||37||39||-2||33|
|Real Madrid||7-1||Celta Vigo|
|Deportivo La Coruna||3-3||Malaga|
Ronaldo responded to recent criticism in the best possible fashion on Saturday and hit the target no fewer than four times to help Real net their biggest La Liga victory since beating Rayo Vallecano 10-2 in December.
Ronaldo made sure to showcase an eclectic mix of scoring styles, too, adding his first—and finest—of the afternoon from long distance before contributing a free-kick goal, a tap-in and a header to cap off a historic day.
It also made for an entertaining watch off the pitch as the Santiago Bernabeu fans jeered their team prior to Ronaldo netting four second-half goals in the space of 26 minutes. Corrigan outlined how quickly the mood of the supporters can change in football:
Fans singing Florentino resign last week while leaving Bernabeu chanting Cristiano Ronaldo on way out today.— Dermot Corrigan (@dermotmcorrigan) March 5, 2016
It was Jese whose corner allowed Ronaldo to sizzle home his header, and the Spaniard added a strike of his own after robbing a Celta defender of possession deep in his own territory.
Perhaps the most meaningful goal for Zidane will have been that of substitute Bale, however, and Bet365 summarised the Welshman's show of initiative after so long out of action:
Gareth Bale returns from injury after 48 days out.— bet365 (@bet365) March 5, 2016
14 minutes later...
Gareth Bale scores. pic.twitter.com/S9MFDQmWeJ
Los Merengues were at their best on Saturday, and it's no shock to see that when Ronaldo performs to capacity, great things tend to happen.
Meanwhile, Iago Aspas' consolatory strike won't mask Celta's embarrassment in the slightest, and Eduardo Berizzo's side will seek redemption when they play host to Real Sociedad next Saturday.
In contrast, relegation-threatened Las Palmas will only be seeking more of the same after they recorded a shock 1-0 victory over fourth-placed Villarreal, a result very few might have thought possible.
Right-back David Garcia headed in the only goal to separate the two sides as Villarreal failed to score for the fourth time in their last six games, although the rest of those fixtures unfolded outside El Madrigal.
Las Palmas moved up to 14th with those three points, and after waiting six months for their first away win of the season, Quique Setien's side now have two in their last two. Yahoo's Andre Gaffney illustrated the depth of this upset:
Villarreal’s 14-match unbeaten run is over. It’s ended by a Las Palmas side that hadn’t won 3 in a row in La Liga since January 2001.— Andrew Gaffney (@GaffneyVLC) March 5, 2016
Villarreal had more attempts on goal and enjoyed a greater share of possession, per WhoScored.com, but that didn't prevent the Yellow Submarine suffering just its second home defeat of the 2015-16 campaign.
The result also means Villarreal remain seven points off Real Madrid in third, meaning their hopes of cracking the top three may have been reduced to rubble in the process.
A memorable encounter unfolded at the Riazor in Saturday's final fixture, where 10-man Malaga had the final say as an own-goal from Deportivo defender Alejandro Arribas saw them steal a 3-3 draw away from home.
Charles and Ignacio Camacho twice put the Anchovies ahead either side of a Celso Borges strike just before the interval, but Gaffney confirmed Depor somehow managed to extend their draw record this season:
FT - Deportivo 3-3 Malaga— Andrew Gaffney (@GaffneyVLC) March 5, 2016
A topsy turvy game ends with honours even. Depor’s 15th draw of the season & they remain winless in 2016.
Depor looked to have stolen the result after Fede Cartabia and Lucas Perez scored in the 69th and 81st minutes, respectively, but Arribas was left red-faced after his last-minute own-goal meant the hosts lost out on all three points.
Malaga were overjoyed to bag a late point, but Camacho's red card with only seconds remaining was a glum note to end on, although event manager Christian Machowksi agreed it was deserved punishment:
@DaniMarin1 Camacho was asking for trouble there. Can't kick the ball away on a yellow card.— Christian Machowski (@Christian_ESEM) March 5, 2016
Just as Villarreal and Celta Vigo found their progress halted earlier on Saturday, fifth-placed Sevilla also dropped points in their trip to Getafe following a 1-1 draw later in the schedule.
Unai Emery's side continue to struggle immensely away from home, and Bet365 painted a picture of just how long it's been since Los Nervionenses last tasted victory in foreign territory:
Sevilla’s updated away form: DDLDLLDDLDDDLD— bet365 (@bet365) March 5, 2016
They haven’t won on the road for 287 days. pic.twitter.com/7OtseolFat
It was 79 minutes before Ever Banega broke the deadlock with his free-kick, but centre-back Emiliano Velazquez was well-placed to nudge in a rebound from a Getafe corner just seven minutes later.
Getafe may have even felt aggrieved not to pick up all three points against vulnerable opposition, but their inability to turn chances on goal ultimately proved to be their downfall, and a sharing of the spoils was perhaps justified.