European Roundup PIX: Messi run continues, Bayern on brink
Lionel Messi's knack for finding the net continued for an 18th consecutive league match as Barcelona restored their 13-point lead in La Liga.
A late own goal from Bayer Leverkusen's Philipp Wollschied put Bayern Munich on the brink of the Bundesliga title and Manchester United tightened their grip on the Premier League as rivals Manchester City lost at Everton.
Messi scored twice in Barcelona's 3-1 win over Rayo Vallecano on Sunday as they restored their 13-point lead at the top of La Liga with 10 games left.
He set up David Villa for the opener and the Spain striker returned the favour twice, helping the World Player of the Year take his season La Liga tally to 42 goals.
Champions Real Madrid were second after twice coming from behind to beat Real Mallorca 5-2 at home on Saturday. Three goals in six minutes at the start of the second half did the damage and Gonzalo Higuain scored twice.
Atletico Madrid were a point further back in third after Diego Costa helped them return to winning ways by scoring both goals in a 2-0 win at Osasuna.
Image: Barcelona's Lionel Messi (left) looks toward supporters
Photographs: Gustau Nacarino/Reuters
Manchester United extend lead, Chelsea climb to third
Manchester United extended their lead in the Premier League to 15 points with a scrappy 1-0 home win over struggling Reading as Manchester City slumped to a 2-0 loss at Everton.
Wayne Rooney's first-half strike was enough for United to remain firmly on course for their 20th league title after goals by Everton's Leon Osman and Nikita Jelavic condemned champions City to defeat at Goodison Park.
Chelsea beat West Ham United 2-0 to climb to third, above Tottenham Hotspur who lost 1-0 at home to London rivals Fulham for whom former Spurs striker Dimitar Berbatov grabbed the winner.
Fifth-placed Arsenal won 2-0 at Swansea City to stay in the hunt for a Champions League place.
Image: Frank Lampard of Chelsea (centre) heads to score against West Ham
Photographs: Andrew Winning/Reuters
Bayern Munich inch closer to title
Bayern Munich will clinch the title if they win their next match and second-placed Borussia Dortmund draw after the Bavarians beat Bayer Leverkusen 2-1 to stay an emphatic 20 points clear at the top.
Mario Gomez put Bayern ahead in the first half. Simon Rolfes gave Leverkusen a deserved equaliser after the break but they were undone when Wollschied put the ball into his own net in the 87th minute.
Dortmund, champions for the past two seasons, played their part by demolishing Freiburg 5-1 with two goals apiece from Bundesliga top scorer Robert Lewandowski and playmaker Nuri Sahin.
Bayern have 69 points with eight games left, Dortmund are on 49 and Leverkusen 45.
Image: From left, Bayern Munich's Daniel van Buyten, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Dante and Javier Martinez celebrate their victory
Photographs: Wolfgang Rattay/Reuters
Cavani sizzles in Napoli victory
Serie A's leading scorer Edinson Cavani ended an eight-match goal drought by scoring twice, including a penalty, to help Napoli beat Atalanta 3-2, taking his tally to 20 for the season.
Goran Pandev scored the winner in the 86th minute to give Napoli their first win in six games and keep them nine points behind leaders Juventus.
Second-half goals from Mirko Vucinic and Claudio Marchisio gave Juventus a 2-0 win at Bologna as they close in on a second successive title.
Mario Balotelli scored twice, the first a penalty, in AC Milan's 2-0 win over bottom club Palermo, taking his tally to seven in six games since his move from Manchester City. Milan are a further two points behind Napoli in third.
Image: Napoli's Edinson Cavani
Photographs: Max Rossi/Reuters
Paris St Germain extend lead
None of the top seven teams managed to win but Paris St Germain still extended their lead to five points despite wasting a two-goal advantage in a 2-2 draw at St Etienne.
Javier Pastore and Zlatan Ibrahimovic's early goals were cancelled out by an Alex own goal and a superb strike by Francois Clerc as David Beckham started his first Ligue 1 game for PSG.
PSG have 58 points and lead Olympique Lyon, who were thrashed 4-1 at Bastia on Saturday, by five points.
Third-placed Olympique Marseille, on 51 points, had a goalless draw against AC Ajaccio on Friday and fifth-placed Nice, on 48 points, slumped to a 1-0 defeat at bottom club Nancy on Sunday. St Etienne are fourth on 49 points.
Image: David Beckham (right) of Paris St Germain reacts as referee Antony Gautier (right) delivers a yellow card to team mate Blaise Matuidi
Photographs: Robert Pratta/Reuters