Lionel Messi scored a hat-trick for Barcelona when they hammered Mallorca 5-2 at the Camp Nou on Saturday, retaining their spot at the peak of La Liga.
Antoine Griezmann played a key role early on and also got on the score sheet along with Luis Suarez, helping the Blaugrana to a fifth straight win in all competitions.
Real Madrid temporarily climbed three points clear at the top of the standings earlier on when they opened Week 16 with a 2-0 victory over Espanyol at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Valencia twice struck back from behind to beat Levante 4-2 away in their derby and move seventh in the table for the time being. Roger scored twice for the hosts before giving Valencia their breakthrough with an own goal, and a Kevin Gameiro brace helped Valencia complete their comeback on the road.
Granada ended a run of five matches without a win when they defeated Alaves 3-0 at the Nuevo Estadio de Los Carmenes, where they've recorded their last five wins.
Real Madrid 2-0 Espanyol
Granada 3-0 Alaves
Levante 2-4 Valencia
Barcelona 5-2 Mallorca
La Liga Table (Played, Goal Difference, Points)
1. Barcelona: 15, +23, 34
2. Real Madrid: 15, +21, 34
3. Sevilla: 15, +5, 30
4. Real Sociedad: 15, +8, 26
5. Athletic Bilbao: 15, +8, 26
6. Atletico Madrid: 16, +6, 26
7. Valencia: 16, +3, 26
8. Getafe: 15, +7, 24
9. Granada: 16, +3, 24
10. Osasuna: 15, +4, 22
11. Levante: 16, -5, 20
12. Villarreal: 16, +4, 19
13. Real Betis: 15, -6, 19
14. Real Valladolid: 15, -4, 18
15. Alaves: 16, -6, 18
16. Eibar: 15, -12, 15
17. Real Mallorca: 16, -12, 14
18. Celta Vigo: 15, -10, 13
19. Espanyol: 16, -20, 9
20. Leganes: 15, -17, 6
Visit Sky Sports to see the standings in full.
All eyes were on Messi at the Camp Nou, where he celebrated his record sixth Ballon d'Or in style and bagged a match-deciding trio of goals in front of his own fans.
As if to underline to the world why he deserved to become the outright leader in Ballons d'Or won, Messi delivered a scintillating hat-trick—each scored with his left foot—to write even more history:
Ante Budimir impressed for Mallorca and will remember his brace at the Camp Nou even if it couldn't alter the result, while on-loan Real Madrid winger Takefusa Kubo was a busy nuisance.
Griezmann scored the first for manager Ernesto Valverde's side, but Suarez's back-heel lob for Barcelona's fourth of the evening was the best goal of the match, via Premier Sports (UK viewers only):
Real did their bit to keep up the pressure on Valverde's side, although manager Zinedine Zidane's side were disappointed to finish with 10 men following Ferland Mendy's first red card for the club.
French compatriots Raphael Varane and Karim Benzema scored in the first and second half, respectively, in what was a convincing display from the Bernabeu hosts:
Mendy's suspension for the upcoming trip to the Mestalla is a concern for Zidane, however, considering Marcelo's injured status leaves him short of options at left-back.
Valencia responded well to adversity in their local derby at Levante, although La Liga Lowdown attested to this not being the first time they've won from losing positions this season:
La Liga Lowdown 🧡🇪🇸⚽️ @LaLigaLowdown
An incredible Valencian Derby sees Valencia come from 2-0 down to beat Levante 4-2. Ferran Torres put the seal on things, his 4th goal in 6 🔥 📝 Valencia have won 9️⃣ points from losing positions in LaLiga this season, and now go level on points with Atleti on 26. #LLL 🧡🇪🇸⚽️ https://t.co/vtb3oebGth
Youngster Ferran Torres completed their turnaround after Gameiro's brace, while Levante remain in mid-table after losing three of their last four matches.
They've now fallen four points behind Granada, who matched their biggest win of the season so far at home to Alaves:
Carlos Fernandez, Roberto Soldado and Yangel Herrera netted for the home side, although it didn't help Alaves to see substitute Mubarak Wakaso sent off before centre-back Victor Laguardia was also dismissed late.
Granada sit ninth but are only two points away from Real Sociedad in fourth as the race for European qualification heats up in La Liga.