Lionel Messi picked up from where he left off in 2012 with another goal as Barcelona began 2013 with a comfortable 4-0 victory over Espanyol.
The Argentinian scored Barca's fourth from the penalty spot, after goals from Xavi and a brace from Pedro propelled the Catalan side race into a 3-0 lead inside 27 minutes.
Tito Vilanova returned to the dugout for the first time since his cancer surgery, and his side restored their 16-point lead over Real Madrid after Jose Mourinho's team had briefly cut it down to 13 with a 4-3 win over Real Sociedad at the Bernabeu.
Mourinho once again started Adan over Iker Casillas, but, as fate would have it, it wasn't long before Spain's number one returned to the starting XI.
Adan was sent off after giving away a penalty on six minutes - a spot-kick Sociedad promptly dispatched, levelling the tie at 1-1 following Karim Benzema's goal 90 seconds in.
Despite the man advantage, Sociedad found it difficult to take control - their limited ambition did not help - and Madrid managed to squeak a 4-3 win. Two goals from Cristiano Ronaldo, including a stunning free-kick, proved to be the difference.
Messi and Ronaldo await the Ballon d'Or results, which are due to be announced this evening, sometime before 8pm GMT.
Watch the goals from both games here…
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