Lionel Messi scored two and overhauled Alfredo Di Stefano's La Liga goals tally to move up to third as Barcelona and Atletico Madrid went three points clear of Real Madrid at the top.

Back to his best after returning from a two-month injury layoff in early January, Messi struck twice in Barca's 6-0 thrashing of Rayo Vallecano at the Nou Camp to take his total in Spain's top flight to 228 goals from 263 matches, one more than Real Madrid great Di Stefano managed in 329 games.

Elsewhere, Atletico's Raul Garcia and Diego Costa struck early to set up a 3-0 win over visitors Real Valladolid, while Villarreal's match at home to Celta Vigo was suspended for about half an hour when what appeared to be a teargas canister was thrown on to the pitch with about three minutes remaining.

Celta were leading 1-0 and after play restarted Nolito made it 2-0 with a free kick in the 90th minute meaning Villarreal missed a chance to close to within a point of fourth-placed Athletic Bilbao.

Source: Reuters