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Gonzalo Higuain hat-trick lifts Real Madrid back to top of La Liga

Higuain's Argentina team mate Lionel Messi earlier scored three sublime goals to fire Barca to a 3-0 win over third-placed Valencia and lift the champions briefly into first place.

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Gonzalo Higuain netted a clinical hat-trick as Real Madrid romped to a 4-1 victory at struggling Real Valladolid on Sunday and climbed back above Barcelona to the top of La Liga. 

Higuain's Argentina team mate Lionel Messi earlier scored three sublime goals to fire Barca to a 3-0 win over third-placed Valencia and lift the champions briefly into first place.

A trademark Cristiano Ronaldo free kick set Real on their way in the 28th minute before Higuain scored his 17th, 18th and 19th goals of the campaign to go second behind Messi, who has 22, in the La Liga scoring charts.

A mistake from goalkeeper Iker Casillas gifted relegation-threatened Valladolid a goal in the 58th when the Spain captain's attempted clearance ricocheted into the net off Real defender Raul Albiol.

Real and Barca both have 65 points from 26 matches, with Manuel Pellegrini's side, dumped out of the Champions League by Olympique Lyon in midweek, ahead on goal difference. Valencia have 47 and Sevilla, who drew 1-1 with Deportivo Coruna on Saturday, are fourth on 44. 

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