La Liga Five things we learned from matchday 10

AFP sports looks at five things we learned from week 10 in La Liga.

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Real Madrid's forward Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates after scoring his team's second goal on October 29, 2016 play

Real Madrid's forward Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates after scoring his team's second goal on October 29, 2016

(AFP)
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Cristiano Ronaldo was back among the goals, whilst Yannick Carrasco continued to power Atletico Madrid's title challenge and Barcelona's 'MSN' suffered a rare off night.

Here, AFP sports looks at five things we learned from week 10 in La Liga.

Ronaldo hits back with hat-trick

It wasn't one of Ronaldo's finest 43 career hat-tricks, but after an uncharacteristically slow start to the season and a week of murmuring over whether the 31-year-old was now over the hill, his treble in a 4-1 win at Alaves may have been one of his sweetest.

He celebrated the third and best of his goals after a neat one-two with Marcelo in style, no doubt relieved having also missed a penalty with his first chance to seal his hat-trick.

There was some fortune attached to the first two goals. A dubious handball call presenting Ronaldo with a first penalty, which he did convert, whilst his second looked to be heading wide before a deflection sent the ball flying into the far corner.

Yet, that luck could be just what Ronaldo needed to kickstart his season. It also took him past the remarkable tally of 350 career league goals.

His next target, 100 Champions League goals, could come rapidly into view when Real travel to face Legia Warsaw on Wednesday with Ronaldo just five off a European century.

Carrasco better than Bale?

Atletico Madrid's midfielder Yannick Ferreira Carrasco celebrates after scoring on October 29, 2016 play

Atletico Madrid's midfielder Yannick Ferreira Carrasco celebrates after scoring on October 29, 2016

(AFP)

Whilst Real tied down Gareth Bale to 2022 with reportedly the biggest contract in world football on Sunday, once again cross city rivals Atletico may have got more bang for their buck.

Carrasco's brilliant double that bookended the scoring in a 4-2 win over Malaga demonstrated his cannon of a shot off both feet and his electric pace.

The Belgian now has seven goals to Bale's four despite having played nearly 200 fewer minutes this season.

Atletico's decision to also renew Carrasco till 2022 earlier this month looks a better deal every day.

Camp Nou comes alive

Barcelona's midfielder Rafinha celebrates a goal on October 29, 2016 play

Barcelona's midfielder Rafinha celebrates a goal on October 29, 2016

(AFP)

There was little to cheer for the Barca fans on Saturday night as the champions laboured to a 1-0 win over bottom placed Granada, yet coach Luis Enrique was effusive in his praise for those who did.

Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar were all guilty of missing chances as midfielder Rafinha grabbed the only goal.

Barca are the latest La Liga side to introduce a singing section for younger fans to keep the atmosphere up throughout the 90 minutes.

"I want to congratulate the singing section because the spectacle in the Camp Nou has changed completely," said Enrique.

Three-horse race inevitable

Villarreal suffered first defeat of the season away to Eibar play

Villarreal suffered first defeat of the season away to Eibar

(AFP)

The excellent early season form of Sevilla and Villarreal and struggles suffered by Madrid, Barca and Atletico produced the most wide open La Liga in many a year for the opening two months of the campaign.

Heading into this weekend the top five were separated by just three points.

However, Sevilla's slip up in a 1-1 draw at Sporting Gijon on Saturday and Villarreal's first defeat of the season away to Eibar on Sunday leaves the three usual protagonists back in the top three.

Madrid and Barca's performances still leave plenty to be desired, whilst Atletico made what should have been a routine victory awkward when Stefan Savic was sent-off half an hour from time.

Yet, over 38 games they remain a class above the rest.

Basque charge

Three of the other seven places in the top 10 are filled by three of La Liga's Basque contingent.

Almost exactly a year since sacking David Moyes, Real Sociedad's upturn in fortunes saw them move into the top six with victory at Leganes.

Eibar continue to defy the odds despite their tiny budget and even tinier Ipurua stadium.

The traditional Basque powerhouse Athletic Bilbao missed an opportunity, though, in their quest to challenge Villarreal and Sevilla for the fourth Champions League spot with a disappointing a 1-1 draw at home to lowly Osasuna.

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