Argentina football captain Lionel Messi rattled in a 17-minute hat-trick as Barcelona swept aside Real Mallorca 5-0 while Real Madrid went top of Spain's La Liga with a 1-0 win at Real Sociedad.
World Player of the Year Messi has not been at his best in recent games, failing to score in three outings, but quashed any debate over his form with a first-half treble at the Nou Camp that took his league tally this season to 13.
Barca youngster Isaac Cuenca and Dani Alves wrapped up the scoring in the second half to leave the champions second with 24 points from 10 games, one behind leaders Real.
Gonzalo Higuain gave Jose Mourinho's in-form Real Madrid a ninth-minute lead in San Sebastian but the team that netted 28 times in their previous seven matches were denied another hefty win by the battling Basques.
Levante, who have dropped to third with 23 points, can reclaim top spot with an eighth consecutive victory at Osasuna on Monday.