Toni Kroos netted his first for Real Madrid and was hailed as the best player on the pitch by his coach as the hosts tore apart Rayo Vallecano 5-1 in La Liga to extend their winning streak to 13 games.
Gareth Bale netted the opener in his first start after injury to put Real on track for a victory which puts them on 27 points from 11 games, two more than Barcelona in second.
Sergio Ramos knocked in from a corner after 40 minutes to add to Real’s lead but neighbours Rayo pulled a goal back minutes later through.
Cristiano Ronaldo fed Germany World Cup winner Kroos for a precise finish from 20 metres and then the Portuguese found Karim Benzema to slot home.
Ronaldo as ever was on the scoresheet, wrapping up the win with a tame effort which slipped through the hands of goalkeeper Cristian Alvarez.
Real are now two shy of the club’s record run of 15 consecutive wins achieved jointly by Miguel Munoz’s 1960-61 team and by Jose Mourinho’s in 2011-12.
Earlier, substitute Neymar and Jordi Alba earlier came to the rescue with second-half goals to give Barcelona a 2-1 comeback victory at Almeria but Lionel Messi again just missed out in his bid to become La Liga’s all-time leading marksman.
Elsewhere, a penalty from Nordin Amrabat in the 89th minute gave seventh-placed Malaga a 2-1 victory over Eibar.
Getafe drew 0-0 with Elche and it was also 0-0 between Celta Vigo and Granada.