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Football

Messi contributes four to the cause

Real's Ronaldo and Barca's Messi return to goal-scoring ways in Spanish Primera Division with seven goals between them.
Last Modified: 27 Jan 2013 20:45
Is there any end to his brilliance? Messi hits four past Osasuna to get Barcelona back to winnings ways in La Liga [AP]

Lionel Messi hit four goals for leaders Barcelona and Cristiano Ronaldo grabbed a hat-trick for Real Madrid as both sides recorded crushing La Liga victories on Sunday ahead of their midweek King's Cup semi-final clash.

Messi took his league tally for the season to 33 and 202 overall in Barca's 5-1 win at home to 10-man Osasuna while Ronaldo passed the landmark of 300 club goals and now has 21 this term as Real thumped Getafe 4-0 at the Bernabeu.

Barca's return to winning ways after last weekend's 3-2 reverse at Real Sociedad, their first defeat of the campaign, put them 11 points clear of second-placed Atletico Madrid who visit Athletic Bilbao later on Sunday (2000 GMT).

Champions Real, whose hopes of a second straight title are effectively over with 21 of 38 matches played, are four points behind Atletico in third spot.

World Player of the Year Messi became the first player to score on 11 successive La Liga matchdays and, at 25, the
youngest to reach 200 league goals.

He has scored more goals himself than all the other La Liga teams apart from Real and Atletico and is on course to smash the record for the most in a season (50) he set last term.

Real host holders Barca in their King's Cup semi-final first leg on Wednesday and both coaches rested key players on Sunday.

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