Barcelona took time off from the domestic programme this week to take part in the Club World Cup, which this year was in Japan. As in previous years the European Champions League winners enter at the semi-final stage, the Catalans beating Asian champions Guangzhou 3-0 on Thursday. Neymar and Messi both missed that match for various reasons, but Luis Suárez was there, and he notched up all three of the goals, the last from the penalty spot. That took Luis Enrique’s team into Sunday’s final against River Plate, and with Neymar and Messi back in the line-up, they clocked up another 3-0 victory to take the title for the third time in seven years. Suárez got two of the goals to take the MVP tournament prize, with Messi starting things off before the break.

The other first division sides (with the exception of the banned Real Madrid) played out their second leg cup ties midweek, the only surprise being the elimination of Málaga by second division side Mirandés. Borja Bastón was on target as Eibar won 4-0 against Ponferradina to overturn a 3-0 first leg defeat , and Soldado got one of the goals for Villarreal as they too came back from behind to beat Huesca. Most of the top strikers didn’t play though, and the only other top goalscorer to add to his tally was Caicedo, who got the winner for Espanyol against Levante.

Real Madrid got over the humiliation of being thrown out of the cup in spectacular fashion though, a 10-2 victory against Rayo Vallecano on Sunday their biggest win in 55 years! The “BBC” strike force got no less than nine goals between them, Bale scoring four, Benzema a second half hat-trick, and Ronaldo two, including a penalty after Rayo were reduced to nine men. After their Champions League 8-0 record win against Malmö, they have now scored an amazing 18 in their last two home games, but there were still whistles from the crowd, and there is talk that Benítez might be sacked for producing boring football! It could only happen in Spain!

Only 14 goals in the other eight matches though, Atlético Madrid missing out on a chance to leapfrog leaders Barcelona after they lost 1-0 at Málaga. Charles was accredited with the only goal by the referee, although it would not have gone in had it not taken a massive deflection off Godín. Celta stay fourth after a 0-2 win at Granada, Iago Aspas on target in the absence of the injured Nolito, and Depor are still sixth after a 2-0 victory against Eibar, Lucas Pérez converting a penalty to make it seven games in a row on the scoresheet, matching Bebeto’s club record. Elsewhere Williams got one of Athletic’s two goals against Levante which sees them up to seventh, Paco Alcácer scored for Valencia in a 2-2 draw against Getafe, and Caicedo got the only goal for Espanyol against Las Palmas, helping new coach Galca get off to a good start. (22.12.15)

Pichichi League Cup Europe Total (Penalties)
Luis Suárez (Barcelona) 13 0 11 24 (2)
Ronaldo (Real Madrid) 12 0 11 23 (5)
Aduríz (Athletic Bilbao) 10 4 6 20 (2)
Neymar (Barcelona) 14 0 2 16 (4)
Benzema (Real Madrid) 11 0 4 15 (0)
Lucas Pérez (Deportivo) 12 0 0 12 (1)
Agirretxe (Real Sociedad) 12 0 0 12 (0)
Griezmann (Atlético) 8 0 4 12 (0)
Messi (Barcelona) 5 1 6 12 (1)
Iago Aspas (Celta) 8 2 0 10 (0)
Bakambu (Villarreal) 6 1 3 10 (0)
Javi Guerra (Rayo) 9 0 0 9 (0)
Gameiro (Sevilla) 7 0 2 9 (4)
Rubén Castro (Betis) 8 0 0 8 (2)
Nolito (Celta) 8 0 0 8 (1)
Bale (Real Madrid) 8 0 0 8 (0)
Borja Bastón (Eibar) 7 1 0 8 (0)
Alcácer (Valencia) 7 0 0 7 (2)
Williams (Athletic) 5 0 2 7 (0)
Charles (Málaga) 6 0 0 6 (0)
Caicedo (Espanyol) 5 1 0 6 (0)
Parejo (Valencia) 4 1 1 6 (2)
Soldado (Villarreal) 3 1 2 6 (1)