Messi

Messi needs just 44 goals more to become Barcelona's all-time top scorer. Picture - Reuters.

Spanish giants Barcelona and Real Madrid returned to their devastating best, led by their frontmen Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Messi's hat-trick helped Barcelona demolish Atletico Madrid 5-0 at the Camp Nou while Ronaldo's three goals saw Real Madrid take a 6-2 win against neighbors Rayo Vallecano.

The outing against Atletico came at a seemingly tough time for the Catalans, who had dropped two points at Valencia in midweek. The free scoring Rojiblancos were supposed to provide a difficult time for Barca, who are traditionally bad starters.

The Catalans had, however, hammered Osasuna for eight goals last week, and Atletico were on the receiving end from a similarly determined Barcelona.

A Barca hammering has become customary with a Messi hat-trick and so it proved. David Villa added to the Argentine's goals while an own goal by Joao Miranda didn't help Atletico.

On comparison, Real Madrid weren't as dominating as their arch-rivals. The Los Blancos has just managed a point in their two away outings of the season, and it wasn't a great start for Jose Mourinho's men in the Madrid derby. The more illustrious club found themselves on the receiving end within barely 14 seconds after Miguel Perez Cuesta got to a rebound in the Madrid D.

As the game progressed though, Madrid imposed themselves and soon began their scoring onslaught. Within 13 minutes, separated by half-time, they had scored three goals. Ronaldo scored two while Gonzalo Higuain got the other to take a 3-1 lead.

The Bernabeu exhaled a sigh of relief, but it proved premature as Rayo managed to pull one back in the 55 minute with Cuesta bagging his second. Shortly thereafter, Madrid had Angel Di Maria sent off for a second booking.

With just half-an-hour to go, and with less men than their opposition, it was a crucial stage for the team. They couldn't afford more dropped points and they knew it.

It was maybe not surprising that at a telling time, their quality shone through. Mourinho's men netted three more times, with Raphael Varane scoring a beauty along with Karim Benzema and Ronaldo - who netted his second from the spot for his second hat-trick of the season.