|Real Madrid fans and players applaud their star player and Golden Boot winner Cristiano Ronaldo [EPA]|
Lionel Messi scored a last-minute equaliser to grab a 2-2 draw for Barcelona at Athletic Bilbao after an epic La Liga clash at a rain-soaked San Mames on Sunday.
However, the result meant Barcelona slip further behind table toppers Real Madrid who showed no mercy with an emphatic 7-1 win over Osasuna.
A Gerard Pique own-goal looked to have condemned Barca to a first defeat this season in the 80th minute before the World Player of the Year netted his 14th goal of the campaign at the death.
“My goals are not important, what counts is that the team wins”
Barca keeper Victor Valdes was beaten for the first time in 10 matches when Ander Herrera fired Bilbao in front in the 20th minute, but Cesc Fabregas headed the visitors level just four minutes later.
The European and Spanish champions remain second on 25 points, three behind Real Madrid, who crushed Osasuna with a hat-trick from Cristiano Ronaldo.
“My goals are not important, what counts is that the team wins,” said Ronaldo, who has scored 17 goals in all competitions.
“I am happy to have scored but also because the team is playing well.”
The world’s most expensive player paraded the Golden Boot before kickoff for the 40 league goals he scored last season, and he helped his bid to win it again with another sparkling performance at the Bernabeu.
Argentina winger Angel Di Maria set up the first three goals for Ronaldo, Pepe and Gonzalo Higuain before being carried off with a torn thigh muscle at the start of the second half.
|Real’s Karim Benzema was on hand to put the icing on the cake for his side [EPA]|
Ronaldo notched his second goal from the penalty spot in the 54th when Osasuna had defender Eneko Satrustegui sent off, and he completed his fourth league treble this season in the 57th, taking his La Liga tally to 13.
Substitute Karim Benzema wrapped up the scoring with two more goals.
Injury-hit Osasuna, thrashed 8-0 away to Barcelona in September, had drawn level at 1-1 in the 31st minute when
Ibrahima took advantage of a quickly-taken free kick to beat Iker Casillas.
“The first half was tough for us playing against a well organised team, but after they equalised we had a little luck to go back ahead,” Madrid coach Jose Mourinho said.
“Then in the second half it is difficult for any team to play with 10 men.”
Valencia are third with 24 points after winning the city derby 2-0 at Levante on Saturday, pushing the season’s surprise early pace-setters down to fourth with 23 points.