Barca keep Atletico at bay, Bayern back
London: Barcelona stayed top of La Liga on goal difference with a 3-0 win over Malaga as Atletico Madrid won 4-2 at Rayo Vallecano to stay hot on their heels.
Bayern Munich returned from the Bundesliga winter break to beat Borussia Moenchengladbach, Juventus dropped points for the first time in 13 Serie A matches and Monaco cut Paris St Germain`s Ligue 1 lead to three points.
Real Madrid moved top when they beat Granada 2-0 on Saturday but comfortable wins for Barcelona and Atletico Madrid on Sunday restored the joint leaders` one-point advantage in La Liga after 21 matches.
Cristiano Ronaldo set Real on their way with the opening goal at the Bernabeu, the league`s top scorer`s 22nd of the campaign, and Karim Benzema added a second for Carlo Ancelotti`s in-form side.
Barca coasted to a 3-0 home victory over Malaga thanks to goals from Gerard Pique, Pedro and Alexis Sanchez, and Turkey playmaker Arda Turan struck twice in Atletico`s 4-2 success at Rayo Vallecano.
The leaders have 54 points with Barca ahead on goal difference. Real are lurking ominously on 53 and fourth-placed Athletic Bilbao have 42 after thrashing Osasuna 5-1.
Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich picked up where they left off before the winter break, notching their ninth successive league win a 2-0 victory over Borussia Moenchengladbach to extend their lead to 10 points.
The Bavarians, unbeaten in their last 42 league games, are on 47 points with Bayer Leverkusen failing to keep pace and slumping to a 3-2 defeat by Freiburg to stay on 37.
Borussia Dortmund saw Augsburg twice battle back from a goal down and had to settle for a 2-2 draw at home which was enough to lift them to third on 33.
Schalke 04 moved up to fifth on 31 with Klaas-Jan Huntelaar scoring on his comeback after a five-month injury break in a 3-0 victory at Hamburg SV.
Juventus missed out on their 13th successive Serie A win when they drew 1-1 at Lazio after playing for more than an hour with 10 men.
Antonio Candreva put Lazio ahead from a 27th-minute penalty after Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon was sent off for crashing into Miroslav Klose. But Juventus battled back to gain a point through Fernando Llorente`s second-half header.
AS Roma cut Juventus` lead to six points with a 3-1 win at Hellas Verona, where Gervinho set up the first goal for Adem Ljajic and added the second. Roma stalwart Francesco Totti made the game safe by converting a late penalty.
Juventus have 56 points from 21 games, with Roma on 50 and Napoli 44 after a 1-1 draw at home to Chievo.
Paris St Germain`s Ligue 1 lead was slashed to three points after they were held to a 1-1 draw at En Avant Guingamp on Saturday.
Alex cancelled out Mustapha Yatabare`s late opener to put PSG, who were without the injured Ezequiel Lavezzi and Thiago Silva, on 51 points from 22 matches.
Second-placed Monaco have 48 after goals by Valere Germain and Emmanuel Riviere earned them a 2-0 win at home against Olympique Marseille on Sunday, one day after their Colombia striker Radamel Falcao underwent knee surgery.
Lille drew 1-1 at home against Stade Rennes on Friday and stayed third on 41 points.
Premier League high-fliers Arsenal, Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool reached the FA Cup fifth round where they will lock horns with each other in two mouth-watering clashes.
Arsenal crushed Coventry City 4-0, Manchester City came from 2-0 down to beat Watford 4-2 thanks to Sergio Aguero`s hat-trick, Chelsea overcame Stoke City 1-0 and Liverpool won 2-0 at Bournemouth.
Manchester City host Chelsea and Liverpool travel to Arsenal in the last 16.
A Lasse Schone goal handed Ajax Amsterdam a 1-0 win over Go Ahead Eagles allowing them to open up a two-point lead over Vitesse Arnhem.
Ajax moved to 43 points while Vitesse lost ground after a 1-1 home draw with NEC Nijmegen. Third-placed Twente Enschede stayed on 37 points after their game at Groningen was postponed because of an icy pitch.
Olympiakos Piraeus continued their dominant form with a comfortable 2-0 win at Skoda Xanthi that leaves them unbeaten in 21 league matches this season.
Having dropped only two points, they remain 11 clear of second-placed PAOK Salonica, who ran out 4-1 home winners over struggling Veria.