Ronaldo breaks his own scoring record as Madrid maintain lead
April 14, 2012 -- Updated 2202 GMT (0602 HKT)
Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates scoring Real Madrid's second goal on Saturday and his 41st of this year's La Liga campaign.
- Cristiano Ronaldo takes league tally to 41 goals as Madrid win 3-1 win Sporting Gijon
- Lionel Messi joins him on same number with two goals for Barcelona in 2-1 win at Levante
- Real Madrid stay four points clear of champions Barca in the La Liga title race
(CNN) -- Cristiano Ronaldo beat his own La Liga scoring record on Saturday as Real Madrid maintained a four-point advantage over rivals Barcelona with a 3-1 win over Sporting Gijon.
The Portugal international's header in the 74th minute took his tally of goals to 41 this season -- a mark equaled later in the night by Lionel Messi as Barcelona beat Levante 2-1.
Ronaldo's record-breaking goal was a vital one, putting Madrid ahead for the first time in the game after Miguel De Las Cuevas had given Gijon the lead from the penalty spot in the 30th minute.
Argentine striker Gonzalo Higuain pulled one back before halftime but Ronaldo's effort guided a lackluster Madrid towards three vital points.
Five minutes later Gijon defender Roberto Canella was dismissed by the referee for a second bookable offense which paved the way for France forward Karim Benzema to add a third in the 82nd minute.
The loss left Sporting struggling down in 19th place on 28 points three points ahead of bottom-side Racing Santander (who travel to Villarreal on Sunday) and level on points with Real Zaragoza who host Granada, also on Sunday.
Barcelona also had to come from behind in their match at Levante after Jose Barkero gave the home side the lead from the penalty spot in the 23rd minute.
Barcelona passed and probed without much joy until the 63rd minute when, inevitably, Lionel Messi put his side back on level terms with a curling effort from the edge of the box.
Six minutes later they were awarded a controversial penalty when the linesman flagged for a challenge on Isaac Cuenca by Pedro Botelho after the referee had waved play on.
A gaggle of furious Levante players protested to the officials in vain before Messi stepped up to put an unstoppable spot kick past goalkeeper Gustavo Munua.
The Argentine's two goals took his tally in all competitions this season to an incredible 63.
With five league games left, Madrid have 85 points to Barcelona's 81.
Part of complete coverage on
Be part of CNN's coverage of European Champions League matches and join the social debate.
December 6, 2013 -- Updated 1134 GMT (1934 HKT)
The dreams of 32 footballing nations can begin at Friday's 2014 World Cup draw. It will be more complicated than most -- so click here for the lowdown.
CNN's Alex Thomas takes a brave punt on the 2014 champion ahead of Friday's World Cup draw.
December 5, 2013 -- Updated 1835 GMT (0235 HKT)
Pele has backed Brazil to deliver a "fantastic" World Cup amid growing fears the country will not be ready in time to host football's showpiece event.
December 4, 2013 -- Updated 1500 GMT (2300 HKT)
Adidas unveils official match ball, the Brazuca, and CEO Herbert Hainer discusses the tech behind it.
November 29, 2013 -- Updated 2209 GMT (0609 HKT)
Zahir Belounis contemplated suicide as he was stuck in Qatar for two years. But the footballer says it still deserves to host the 2022 World Cup.
November 29, 2013 -- Updated 1708 GMT (0108 HKT)
As he celebrates his 40th birthday, just what is the secret to Ryan Giggs' longevity?
Two Belgian "brain coaches" are helping transform AC Milan from big-spender to developer of young talent, says CNN's John Sinnott.
October 22, 2013 -- Updated 1457 GMT (2257 HKT)
Shootings, attempted assassinations and intimidation - welcome to Libyan football in 2013.
October 18, 2013 -- Updated 1129 GMT (1929 HKT)
Zahir Belounis' limbo existence is almost at an end. After a two-year nightmare, he has been told he will finally receive his Qatari exit visa.
October 10, 2013 -- Updated 1101 GMT (1901 HKT)
France's multicultural stars shone brightest at the World Cup 15 years ago -- now could it be Belgium's turn to do the same in Brazil next year?
Adnan Januzaj and Diego Costa have highlighted a major dilemma for international football, says CNN's John Sinnott.
CNN's Alex Thomas reports from FIFA HQ after the ruling body delayed its decision on the Qatar 2022 World Cup.
FIFA's credibility rides on finding a solution to the Qatar World Cup controversy, says CNN's Ben Wyatt.
October 2, 2013 -- Updated 1534 GMT (2334 HKT)
Zlatan Ibrahimovic may have cost Paris Saint-Germain $30 million, but you can get your own chunk of the Swedish striker for just $41.
Today's five most popular stories