Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi lit up the Spanish league on Saturday with the former scoring four times and the latter tormenting Real Zaragoza with a brace.

While Gonzalo Higuain started Real Madrid's 6-1 thrashing of Racing Santander, Ronaldo went on to score four for the first time in his career inside a 40-minute span to take his season-leading tally to 10 and keep Real on top of the standings with 20 points.

“I like to win like this,” Real coach Jose Mourinho said. “The more goals the better.”

Barcelona was second with 19 points after Messi scored either side of half-time in a 2-0 win against bottom-placed Zaragoza, which has become one of the favourite venues for the Argentine forward.

Dominant display

Messi followed up last season's hat-trick at the La Romareda Stadium with another dominant display. It started in the 42nd minute when David Villa drew out four defenders with a sizzling run before slipping the ball to Messi, who beat goalkeeper Antonio Doblas with a left-footer.

Zaragoza was reduced to 10 men in the 47th minute when Leonardo Ponzio received a red card. Messi took advantage by shooting a loose ball past Doblas in the 66th.

While Messi led a lacklustre Barcelona to victory, Real picked right up from a convincing mid-week win over AC Milan.

Higuain timed his run perfectly to reach Angel di Maria's long ball, controlling before slotting home a low shot past 'keeper Antonio Rodriguez.

Ronaldo weaved his way between two defenders to guide home Higuain's pass in the 15th, and the Portuguese made it 3-0 in the 27th after Mesut Ozil found him in front of goal.

The festive atmosphere at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium continued in the 47th as Ronaldo controlled di Maria's pass at the edge of the box to curl around and shoot past Rodriguez.

Ronaldo scored his fourth with a penalty kick in the 55th. Ozil added the last goal from another break-out eight minutes later as Santander's defensive shortcomings were further exposed when the Germany playmaker capped a smart run with a curling shot into goal.

Four of the 33 Chilean miners, who were trapped underground before being rescued in an operation that attracted worldwide attention, attended the game as special guests of the club.

Santander scored in the 73rd when Papa Diop's long-ranger deflected off Markus Rosenberg to catch goalkeeper Iker Casillas off-guard.

Fiorentina beats Bari

In the Italian league, Fiorentina managed its second win of the season to move off the bottom of the table. The 2-1 success over Bari was achieved through Marco Donadel's superb lob and a clincher from Alberto Gilardino.

Donadel clipped home brilliantly in the 34th minute to spark the Viola as he left 'keeper Jean-Francois Gillet grasping at thin air and Gilardino was on hand to fire home after Adem Ljalic had a shot blocked.

Alessandro Parisi netted a consolation for Bari in injury-time, but the team slipped into the bottom six as one of a clutch of sides on eight points.

The results:

Spanish league: Real Zaragoza 0 lost to Barcelona 2 (Messi 42, 66); Real Madrid 6 (Higuain 10, Ronaldo 15, 26, 47, 55-pen, Ozil 63) bt Racing Santander 1 (Diop 73); Valencia 1 (Soldado 35-pen) lost to Real Mallorca 2 (Castro 7, 27).

Italian league:

On Sunday: Bologna drew with Juventus 0-0; Chievo 2 (Cesar 31, Thereau 90) bt Cesena 1 (Guana 45-og); Genoa 1 (Rossi 68) bt Catania 0; Lazio 2 (Floccari 21, Mauri 53) bt Cagliari 1 (Matri 59); Lecce 2 (Ofere 54, di Michele 61) bt Brescia 1 (Caracciolo 19); Parma drew with Roma 0-0; Udinese 2 (Benatia 10, di Natale 54-pen) bt Palermo 1 (Pinilla 83).

On Saturday: Fiorentina 2 (Donadel 34, Gilardino 82) bt Bari 1 (Parisi 90+1) . — Agencies

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