Barcelona recovered their habitual majesty and thrashed hapless Zaragoza 6-1 to go three points clear at the top of La Liga.
Seydou Keita scored his first hat-trick in Spain, Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored two and Lionel Messi one, as Barca Sunday confirmed their status as the most elegant and effective team in the world.
Keita headed Barca ahead in the 25th minute, on a clever centre from Messi. Five minutes later Ibrahimovic made it 2-0 with a powerful free-kick which Zaragoza keeper Juan Pablo Carrizo made a mess of.
Three minutes before half-time Ibrahimovic set up Keita for the third goal.
The African returned the compliment in the 57th minute, centering for the Swede to make it 4-0 at the near post.
Jorge Lopez pulled back a consolation goal for Zaragoza, but Messi was determined to score his first goal for a month - and he did so with an exquisite chip.
Keita completed the rout, and his hat-trick, by heading in a late corner.
Zaragoza’s Angel Lafita said that “when a team plays as well as they did tonight, all you can do is applaud them really.”
Barca are now three points ahead of injury-plagued Real Madrid, who were held to a disappointing 0-0 draw in Gijon Saturday.
Real are three points ahead of third-placed Sevilla, who could only draw 0-0 on Saturday at home to Espanyol.
One point behind Sevilla, in joint fourth place, are Valencia and Deportivo Coruna.
Earlier on Sunday, Valencia scored an impressive 3-0 win away to Almeria, with second-half goals from Spain strikers David Villa, Pablo Hernandez and Juan Mata.
Blackburn hit by swine flu
London: Three Blackburn Rovers players and two members of staff have caught H1N1 swine flu but Tuesday's League Cup fourth-round match against Peterborough United will go ahead as scheduled, the Premier League club said.
“There has been a lot of speculation in the national media following confirmation of sickness within the camp, but we can reassure all supporters the match will go ahead as planned,” club secretary Andrew Pincher confirmed in a statement on Blackburn's website (www.rovers.co.uk) on Monday.
Manager Sam Allardyce told reporters three players had contracted the virus, with Chris Samba and David Dunn two of the those who missed Saturday's 5-0 Premier League drubbing at Chelsea.
“We have had more cases this morning, one more player and there are a couple of staff.”