By Noah TanFollow @@Noah_Tan
Jose Mourinho obviously had one eye on their Champions League tie with Manchester United but still had enough to take El Clasico honours against Barcelona on Saturday.
A 2-1 victory may not be enough to get Jose Mourinho's side back in the title race - they are 13 points behind - but it was a notable scalp for the capital club. Fortunately for Barcelona, second placed Atletico Madrid failed to capitalise on their slip as Los Rojiblancos were held to a goalless draw at Malaga on Sunday evening.
Meanwhile, Real Betis held off Real Sociedad's fightback to secure a 3-3 draw in a freewheeling encounter at Estadio Anoeta, Deportivo La Coruna and Rayo Vallecano fought out a dull 0-0 draw, Getafe beat Real Zaragoza 2-0 on Friday, and Athletic Bilbao eased their drop fears with a much-needed 1-0 victory over local rivals Osasuna at the Reyno de Navarra stadium to move six points clear of the relegation zone.
Elsewhere, Real Mallorca snatched a late 2-1 win at Granada - their first league victory in 10 matches, Espanyol and Real Valladolid played out a dour goalless draw at the Cornella-El Prat in a game where excitement and chances were in short supply, and an Alvaro Negredo hat-trick helped Sevilla claim an emphatic 4-1 win over relegation-battling Celta Vigo to move into the top half of the La Liga.
Here, Fox Sports picks the best 11 players from this week's action in La Liga. The formation for this week is 3-4-3.
GK: Gorka Iraizoz (Athletic Bilbao)
Bilbao fans cruelly booed Iraizoz following his horror show against Espanyol three weeks ago, but the 31-year-old, who was dropped from Bilbao's previous two games, certainly made amends with a superb display against Osasuna.
With Espanyol relentlessly attacking Bilbao throughout the game, Iraizoz was kept busy right from the start. Iraizoz, playing against his former team, kept out goalbound efforts from Kike Sola, Miguel Flano, Emiliano Armenteros and Alejandro Arribas with a series of fine saves to help his side pick up all three points, and in the process, will have surely earned the forgiveness of the club's fans.
CB: Raphael Varane (Real Madrid)
Touted as one of the best young defensive prospects in world football at the moment, Varane enhanced his burgeoning reputation with yet another impressive shift at the back for Real against the mighty Barcelona.
The 19-year-old dominated the aerial challenges and made several key challenges to stop Lionel Messi in his tracks, a feat which countless world class defenders have failed to achieve in the past. Despite his tender years, Varane also showed great maturity to command the backline effectively organised his defence during set-pieces.
CB: Martín Demichelis (Malaga)
Malaga's quest to secure qualification into the Champions League got a huge boost as they picked up a valuable point against title-chasers Atletico Madrid. Due credit must be given to Demichelis for his impressive performance in defence which prevented Radamel Falcao from wreaking havoc.
The 32-year-old cut an imposing figure in the heart of defence, clearing his lines effectively and showing excellent reading of the game to make several timely interceptions. Demichelis also almost managed to get on the scoresheet when he jumped highest to meet Joaquin's cross, but he could only direct his header wide.
CB: Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid)
Ramos played a huge part in Los Blancos' solid defence which limited the mighty Barcelona to a solitary goal. But it was his contributions in the final third of the pitch which mattered the most as he popped up with the crucial winner eight minutes from time to secure a morale-boosting El Clasico win for his side.
He nearly turned from hero to villain when he appeared to trip Adriano in the penalty box near the end of the game, but the referee waved play on, much to the chagrin of the Barcelona players. It would have been a cruel blow to Ramos given that he had an all-round reliable display.
DM: Gary Medel (Sevilla)
Medel's thunder may have been stolen by hat-trick hero Negredo, but there is no doubt the 25-year-old deserves as much credit for his side's comprehensive win as the Spanish striker.
The Chile international was a rock in midfield and threw himself bravely into the tackles as he won possession for his side time and again. Medel even managed to get himself a rare goal when he fired a beautiful angled drive into the back of the net from 25 yards out which Celta custodian Javi Varas could do nothing about.
DM: Pepe (Real Madrid)
Love him or hate him, there is no denying how important Pepe has been for Real ever since he joined the club in 2007. And the Portuguese, notorious for his no-nonsense tackling which at times borders on the recklessly dangerous, was superb in midfield for Real against Barcelona on Saturday.
Playing in a team consisting of several second-stringers, Pepe led by example with an energetic and spirited display. Obviously instructed by Mourinho to ruffle the feathers of the likes of Messi, Andres Iniesta and David Villa, Pepe effectively disrupted Barcelona's usually slick passing game with a series of smart interceptions and crunching tackles as the Blaugrana simply failed to click into gear against the inspired 30-year-old.
RM: Giovani Dos Santos (Mallorca)
It would be fair to say that Dos Santos has failed to live up to expectations ever since he broke through the Barcelona youth ranks. His ill-fated time at Tottenham Hotspur drained him of his confidence, and there were fears that the 23-year-old would never amount to anything but a mediocre player.
However, Dos Santos showed on Saturday that he still had it in him to win games on his own as he helped Mallorca come from behind to beat a resolute Granada side. Dos Santos helped set up the equaliser when he used his devastating burst of pace to get to the byline and delivered a perfect low cross for Alfaro to slot home. And Dos Santos was the creator for Mallorca once again when his delicious cross was turned in by Tomer Hemed in the dying seconds of the game as Mallorca claimed a deserved three points.
LM: Alvaro Morata (Real Madrid)
Yet another exciting Spanish talent to rise through the ranks of Real, Morata displayed his immense potential with an excellent performance on the left flank.
The intense pressure which comes along with playing in the El Clasico is doubled when you know you are filling in for a player like Cristiano Ronaldo, but Morata showed nerves of steel and did not seem overawed by the whole occasion. His pace and clever off-the-ball running saw him break past the Barcelona defence and get into several good positions in the box, and he was key in setting Real's first goal as he burst past Dani Alves on the left and delivered a low cross into the box which Karim Benzema gleefully converted.
ST: Dorlan Pabon (Real Betis)
Having joined the club on loan from Parma during the January transfer window, Pabon, who has attracted the interest of Tottenham Hotspur and Rubin Kazan, made a huge mark on his new club by playing a huge role in rescuing a much needed point for Betis on Sunday.
Pabon was a constant threat upfront for Betis and eventually helped his side claw their way back from a losing position with a superb brace. The 25-year-old scored his first goal when he coolly finished Benat's nicely weighted through ball, then doubled his goal tally, and scored the vital equaliser, with a smart finish after having exchanged passes with Ruben Castro.
ST: Alvaro Negredo (Sevilla)
Negredo, reportedly a target for the likes of Chelsea, Spurs and Arsenal, did his chances of securing a move to a more illustrious club a world of good with a deadly display of goalscoring against Celta.
The 27-year-old got his first goal in the 12th minute when he unleashed a crisp right-footed shot which flew into the roof of the net. Negredo doubled his goal tally with yet another fierce shot from the edge of the area which nestled into the bottom-left corner of the net. The former Almeria player secured his hat-trick when he met a cross in the box and finished with aplomb.
ST: Carlos Vela (Real Sociedad)
Vela was once hotly hyped as the "next big thing" in the Premier League, but he never fulfilled his obvious potential at Arsenal due to several factors including injuries, disciplinary problems and inability to cope with the English game.
However, the Mexican international has since found a new lease of life playing for Sociedad in Spain and has firmly established himself as a first-team regular for the Erreala. And Vela was once more at the heart of everything good Sociedad did in their hard earned draw with Betis. Vela single-handedly helped Sociedad, who were 2-0 down in the game at one point, launch a comeback and scored the crucial first goal for his side when he hammered home Imanol Agirretxe's knockdown. The 24-year-old then set up Inigo Martinez to score the equaliser with an accurate cross, before almost setting up with winner with yet another dangerous low cross which Agirretxe just failed to reach.