BARCELONA, Spain (AP) – Cristiano Ronaldo netted his 14th and 15th goals to set a record scoring start in a Spanish league season as Real Madrid eased to a 5-0 win at Levante today, while Lionel Messi scored to move one goal from the competition’s all-time scorer.
Messi guided league leader Barcelona to a 3-0 win at home over promoted Eibar, setting up Xavi Hernandez to break through in the second half and scoring after Neymar had doubled the lead.
Messi is now poised to equal Telmo Zarra’s milestone of 251 goals that has stood since 1955 next week at rival Madrid’s Santiago Bernabeu Stadium.
Barcelona goalkeeper Claudio Bravo also extended his record of not conceding a goal to eight matches as the Catalan club maintained their four-point advantage over Madrid at the top of the standings.
Valencia and Sevilla can both pass Madrid, which moved into a provisional second place, with wins tomorrow.
While Messi closed on Zarra, Ronaldo made sure to make his own mark by breaking a record that had stood since the 1943-44 season when Oviedo’s Esteban Echevarria scored 14 goals through the first eight rounds.
The Ballon d’Or holder opened from the penalty spot in the 13th minute before adding another goal in the 61st, increasing his league-leading tally to 15 goals in eight rounds despite missing one game due to injury.
Javier Hernandez, James Rodriguez and Francisco “Isco” Alarcon also scored to rout the overmatched hosts at Ciutat de Valencia Stadium.
Elsewhere, Celta Vigo drew 1-1 at Athletic Bilbao and Malaga settled for a 2-1 win at Cordoba.