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Higuain, Messi perform hat-tricks

MADRID: Gonzalo Higuain scored three goals and Cristiano Ronaldo struck the other as Real Madrid beat Valladolid 4-1 and Lionel Messi too scored a hat-trick in Barcelona's 3-0 win against 10-man Valencia in the Spanish league on Sunday.

Both teams stayed on the top of the league table with 65 points with Real leading on goal difference. Valencia was third with 47.

At Valladolid's Jose Zorilla Stadium, Ronaldo scored his 15th league goal of the season in the 28th minute, placing a direct free kick into the top right-hand corner.

In the 45th, Higuain volleyed home a long pass from Rafael van der Vaart, who replaced the injured Kaka.

The Argentina striker then ran on to a header from Ronaldo, stroking the ball past goalkeeper Justo Villar in the 58th minute before completing his hat-trick by tapping in from close range after Villar failed to hold on to a shot.

Real's Raul Albiol scored an own goal when goalkeeper Iker Casillas' clearance rebounded off him into the net.

In Barcelona, Messi controlled a pass from Xavi Hernandez on the edge of the area and dribbled past three men before firing in a left-footed shot in the 56th minute. Barcelona's Argentina forward struck again in the 81st minute when he controlled a long pass on the right, cut inside and shot past Cesar Sanchez.

Messi's 22nd league goal of the season came two minutes later when he ran on to Thierry Henry's pass to tap the ball in.

Seedorf is the hero

In the Italian league, Clarence Seedorf scored in the 90th minute to give AC Milan a 1-0 victory over Chievo Verona in a match that was overshadowed by David Beckham's Achilles' tendon injury.

The results:

Spanish league: Villarreal 2 (Llorente 32, Escudero 90) bt Xerez 0; Tenerife 4 (Richi 20, Nino 49 & 90, Alfaro 82) bt Espanyol 1 (Verdu 70); Racing Santander drew with Real Zaragoza 0-0; Almeria 1 (Soriano 56) bt Malaga 0; Barcelona 3 (Messi 56, 81 & 82) bt Valencia 0; Valladolid 1 (Albiol 58-og) lost to Real Madrid 4 (Ronaldo 28, Higuain 45, 52 & 65).

Italian league: Lazio 0 lost to Bari 2 (Almiron 51, Alvarez 64); Genoa 5 (Zapater 36-pen, Palacio 40, Sculli 43, Rossi 45, Milanetto 59) bt Cagliari 3 (Dessena 17, Conti 41, Matri 55-pen); Bologna 1 (Raggi 90+2) drew with Sampdoria 1 (Gastaldello 87); Udinese 3 (Floro Flores 44 & 65, Asamoah 71) bt Palermo 2 (Fabio Simplicio 51, Cavani 80); Parma 1 (Bojinov 71) bt Atalanta 0; Livorno 3 (C. Lucarelli 9, 26 & 71-pen) drew with Roma 3 (Perrotta 10, Toni 19, Pizarro 28); Juventus 3 (Del Piero 2 & 7, Candreva 10) drew with Siena 3 (Maccarone 16, Ghezzal 46 & 74-pen); AC Milan 1 (Seedorf 90+1) bt Chievo 0 . — Agencies

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