Zlatan Ibrahimovic now has an excuse to walk around Milan with even more of a swagger after netting the 500th and 501st club goals of his career, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo scored again (of course they did) while one former Premier League winner found the net in Germany after moving to the continent last month.
Here’s our round-up from across Europe’s top leagues this weekend...
Barcelona And Real Madrid Both Win But Atletico Are Sitting Pretty In La Liga
Raphael Varane came to the rescue to ease some of the mounting pressure on Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane by scoring a brace as the Spanish giants came from behind to beat bottom club Huesca.
Barcelona responded well to going a goal behind at Real Betis but only after Lionel Messi came off the bench to inspire the troops. Trailing to Borja Iglesias’s opener for the home team, Ronald Koeman’s men levelled through Messi. Betis defender Victor Ruiz then scored at both ends to make it 2-2 before Francisco Trincao scored an exquisite left-footed strike which cannoned off the underside of the bar and in with only three minutes remaining.
Despite Madrid and Barcelona both winning, Atletico will still have the biggest smiles on their faces as they sit pretty, seven points clear at the top of the table with two games in hand. They take on Celta Vigo on Monday night.
Former Hammer Payet Sees Red After Kung-Fu Kick On Verratti
Third-placed PSG, hunting an eighth straight Ligue 1 title, kept the pressure on leaders Lille with a 2-0 win at Marseille. Kylian Mbappé and Mauro Icardi scored a goal each in the first half to seal the victory before West Ham man Dimitri Payet saw red in the 90th minute for a kung fu style kick on Marco Verratti. Lille won 2-0 at Nantes thanks to Canada international Jonathan David scoring twice and Memphis Depay also netted a brace to help Lyon to a 3-0 triumph over Strasbourg to stay second. Aleksandr Golovin ran riot in Nimes, meanwhile, scoring a hat-trick for Monaco as they won 4-3.
Demarai Gray Scores On Bayer Leverkusen Debut
Borussia Dortmund have been Bayern Munich’s main title rivals for nearly a decade but lost further ground on the chasing pack with a 2-1 defeat at Freiburg. They are sixth and sixteen points off first.
Bayern travelled to Berlin on Friday evening and made it five wins from five. There was heavy snow in the German capital but that didn’t put off the Bavarians who triumphed courtesy of a deflected Kingsley Coman winner. Second-placed RB Leipzig remain seven points behind Bayern after beating bottom club Schalke 3-0 whilst Wolfsburg’s 2-0 win at Augsburg keeps them third. Eintracht Frankfurt returned to the coveted Champions League places by going to Hoffenheim and winning 3-1.
Meanwhile, Demarai Gray scored for new club Bayer Leverkusen, put the icing on the cake of a 5-2 win over Stuttgart having moved to North Rhine-Westphalia in January after being deemed surplus to requirements at Leicester. Once a far-fetched Football Manager narrative, we love the fact so many English players are boldly signing for clubs in Europe and thriving.
Porto Throw Away Chance To Keep Up With Sporting
Over in Portugal, Porto needed a win to keep up with table-topping Sporting after the Lisbon side beat Maritimo on Friday evening. Even with ten men, everything looked good as they led Braga 2-0 on 86 minutes but then disaster struck. Fransergio halved the deficit for the hosts before Nico Gaitan scored a 94th minute equaliser - the fact he used to play for rivals Benfica will sting that little bit more.
Benfica fans won’t have laughed too hard though; their 0-0 draw against Vitoria Guimares kept them in fourth and eleven points off the top.
Zlatan Scores His 500th And 501st Career Goals
Zlatan Ibrahimovic netted his 500th goal to ensure Milan stayed top of the Serie A table with a 4-0 victory over Crotone. After Inter had beaten Fiorentina 2-0 on Friday evening to leapfrog city rivals Milan, the Rossoneri duly returned to the summit as Ibrahimovic and Ante Rebic each grabbed a double.
Birthday Boy Cristiano Ronaldo, meanwhile, celebrated his 36th year in the best way he knows how, by scoring for Juventus! The Bianconeri, hosting Roma on Saturday, went ahead through the talismanic number seven before Roger Ibanez put through his own net for the visitors as Juve sealed a 2-0 victory. Elsewhere, Atalanta led Torino 3-0 after just 21 minutes but somehow threw the ferocious start away to draw 3-3. Nightmare.