Real Madrid went back to the top of La Liga on Saturday when they beat Alaves 5-1, inspired by a hat trick from Ronaldo.

Whether or not this indicates a true return to form for the controversial superstar remains to be seen but certainly the form of his club is not in doubt.

Also on the score sheet was Raul who netted twice despite missing numerous easier chances.

Real were able to reclaim top spot as Real Sociedad failed to do themselves justice at Valladolid, going down 3-0 to the mid-table side. Third-placed Valencia managed to grind out another result in Vigo on Sunday, holding Celta to a 1-1 draw with Norwegian striker John Carew scoring for the away side.

Deportivo La Coruna maintained pressure on Valencia by taking three points from Racing Santander. The final score in Santander was 2-1 with goals from Makaay and Luque for Deportivo, which keeps the title race open, with only three points separating first and fourth place.

Barcelona’s disappointing season continued with a 2-2 away draw with relegation candidates Osasuna. Although goals from Saviola and Luis Enrique gave Barca a 2-1 lead a last minute equaliser, from Rivero, meant that the points were shared.

Barca’s new coach, Raddy Antic, remained positive despite the setback and said: “The team did everything it could to win here. It’s a hard place to come and play.”

Osasuna needed the points and remain in danger as Espanyol beat Mallorca 2-0 , and Recreativo Huelva beat Athletico Bilbao 3-2 in the San Mames.

Sunday’s Seville derby passed without any major crowd problems as Sevilla stole the game with a late goal from Vales; this despitethe fact that Betis had the majority of the possession and better scoring chances.