Real Madrid are just two points behind Spanish leaders Barcelona after thrashing hapless Zaragoza 6-0.
The Estadio Bernabeu needed cheering up after Barca earlier Saturday completed a historic year by winning the World Club Cup in Abu Dhabi.
Real's best display of the season warmed up the freezing crowd and gave the "madridista" fans hope of catching up with Barca in 2010. Both the in-form Gonzalo Higuain and the fast-improving Rafael Van der Vaart scored twice. Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema completed the rout against the opponents who are third from bottom and in big trouble.
“It was a cold night and we wanted to warm up the crowd with goals and good football," said a delighted Higuain. The young Argentine is now third in the scorers' chart, behind David Villa of Valencia and Barca's Zlatan Ibrahimovic, with 10 goals. Barca have 39 points from 15 games and Real 37.
The battle for the Liga title looks likely to be another two-horse race. Third-placed Sevilla are now seven points behind Real, after crashing 2-1 at home to Getafe earlier Saturday.
Roberto Soldado was the hero for Getafe with two opportunistic goals in the first half, taking advantage of some sloppy Sevilla defending.
Alvaro Negredo pulled a goal back for Sevilla seven minutes into the second half, but with club top scorer Luis Fabiano out injured, Sevilla lacked penetration and Getafe held on without too many problems.
“We have dropped far too many points at home this season, and this has to stop” said Sevilla midfielder Renato. Sevilla, who have failed to win any of their last three home games, stay third with 30 points, four points behind second-placed Real Madrid.
Sevilla are just two points ahead of fourth-placed Valencia, who are away to Deportivo Coruna on Sunday.
Earlier on Sunday, young Athletic Bilbao moved up to sixth with a 2-0 home win over local rivals Osasuna. Joaquin Caparros' vibrant young team went ahead in the very first minute, when the promising Fernando Llorente set up Fran Yeste to make it 1-0 from close range.
In the 12th minute, with Osasuna looking shaky at the back, Spain striker Llorente made it 2-0 with a low drive from just outside the penalty area.
Osasuna never looked capable of spoiling the fiesta in old San Mames, a historic stadium due to be demolished next year.
Oscar de Marcos, one of Caparros' many youngsters, three times came close to adding a third goal for the young “Lions” in the second half.
Bilbao now have 26 points and are joint sixth with Deportivo, both of them one point behind fifth-placed Mallorca.