Barcelona underlined their Spanish title credentials on Saturday with a 6-1 thrashing of Atletico Madrid who never recovered from conceding three goals in a breathtaking first ten minutes.
If the game was billed as Lionel Messi against Sergio Aguero then there was only one winner, but it wasn't just Messi who split
Atletico open at the Nou Camp
Rafa Marquez sent Barca on their way with a flicked header from a corner after three minutes and then Samuel Eto'o scored the first of his brace.
Quick thinking at a free-kick allowed Messi to place the ball into an empty net as goalkeeper Gregory Coupet was still constructing the wall as the avalanche continued.
Maxi Rodriguez offered some relief after 13 minutes with a well taken shot for Atletico but Barca then scored two more before half-time from Eto'o and Eidur Gudjohnsen.
In the second half, with the game won, Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola made several substitutions and Thierry Henry came off the bench to score perhaps the best strike of the game with a well-worked goal.
"I think that was the best match since I came here," said Guardiola whose side are now second in the table, three points behind Villarreal.
But the Barcelona coach also had to play down rumours of a rift with Eto'o, who was unhappy at being substituted in the second half.
"There is no problem with Eto'o, he's not angry. He didn't like being taken off, I know, but that is my decision."
Downcast Atletico coach Javier Aguirre was quick to accept blame for his team's performance.
"I'm the only one responsible, it was a sorry game, there is no explanation for conceding three goals like that in eight minutes and it meant that the game was over. They were better than us in everything," he said.
Two goals in two minutes saw Villarreal come from behind against struggling Real Betis for a win which sees them overtake Valencia at the top of the table.
Roma and Juventus lose
Milan: Nine-man AS Roma suffered their third defeat of the still-young Serie A season on Sunday when they went down 1-0 at Siena while Juventus also remain off the pace following a 2-1 home defeat by Palermo.
Roma, runners-up last season, went behind to Mario Frick's goal in first-half stoppage time and lost defenders Philippe Mexes and Christian Panucci to red cards in the second period.
Levan Mchedlidze grabbed the 81st minute winner for Palermo at Juve, who had Mohamed Sissoko dismissed in the first half and have now not won for four games.
Udinese are joint leaders with 13 points from six games after Fabio Quagliarella scored twice in a 2-0 win over Torino.
Champions Inter Milan won 2-1 at home to Bologna on Saturday to move level at the top with Lazio, who drew 1-1 at Lecce.
Resurgent AC Milan were playing at Cagliari in Sunday's late game.