Barcelona beat Real Madrid 3-1 to end their arch-rivals' 15-match winning streak in all competitions and replace them at the top of La Liga on goal difference.
Modest Udinese moved to the summit of Italy's Serie A after defeating Chievo Verona 2-1 and they are one point clear of unbeaten Juventus who play AS Roma on Monday.
Real Madrid's Karim Benzema scored inside the first minute against Barcelona, but goals from Alexis Sanchez, Xavi and Cesc Fabregas continued Pep Guardiola's remarkable record of eight wins from 12 'Clasicos' since taking the helm at the Nou Camp.
Barca moved level with Real on 37 points but have played a game more. The champions flew out to Japan after the match to compete in the Club World Cup.
Valencia, beaten 2-1 at Real Betis, stayed third on 30 points.
Antonio Di Natale and Dusan Basta struck in the last quarter of the match to give Udinese a 2-1 win over Chievo.
Udinese have 30 points from 14 games, one more than Juventus and two ahead of AC Milan and Lazio.
Milan were held 2-2 in a lively game at Bologna in which Marco Di Vaio gave the hosts an early lead, the champions replied through Clarence Seedorf and a Zlatan Ibrahimovic penalty and Alessandro Diamanti made it 2-2.
Miroslav Klose scored twice, including an 87th-minute winner, in Lazio's 3-2 win at bottom club Lecce, handing Serse Cosmi an unhappy debut as coach of the hosts.
Champions Manchester United closed the gap on leaders Manchester City to two points with a 4-1 home victory over Wolverhampton Wanderers before their neighbors travel to Chelsea on Monday.
Striker Wayne Rooney scored twice, finding the net for the first time in nine league games, and Nani grabbed the other two for United who were seeking to ease the pain of their midweek Champions League exit.
Arsenal's red-hot striker Robin van Persie struck the winner in a 1-0 home victory over Everton as they moved above fellow Londoners Chelsea into fourth place. Third-placed Tottenham Hotspur's long unbeaten run ended with a 2-1 defeat at Stoke City.
Mario Gomez scored twice, taking his league tally this season to 15 goals, to give Bayern Munich a 2-1 win at VfB Stuttgart who had Cristian Molinaro sent off.
Christian Gentner gave Stuttgart a sixth-minute lead but Gomez levelled seven minutes later and grabbed the winner on the hour.
The Bavarians lead with 34 points from 16 games, three ahead of Borussia Dortmund and Schalke 04.
Dortmund let slip a halftime lead in a 1-1 draw at home to lowly Kaiserslautern and their bitter rivals Schalke won 2-1 at Hertha Berlin.
|La Liga top scorers on Sunday: |
Lionel Messi (Barcelona)
Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid)
Gonzalo Higuain (Real Madrid)
Roberto Soldado (Valencia)
Radamel Falcao (Atletico Madrid)
Cesc Fabregas (Barcelona)
Karim Benzema (Real Madrid)
Fernando Llorente (Athletic Bilbao)
Michu (Rayo Vallecano)
David Barral (Sporting Gijon)
Adrian (Atletico Madrid)
Alexis Sanchez (Barcelona)
David Villa (Barcelona)
Arouna Kone (Levante)
Tomer Hemed (Real Mallorca)
Ruben Castro (Real Betis)
Imanol Agirretxe (Real Sociedad)