Cristiano Ronaldo warmed up for Saturday’s El Clasico by firing Real Madrid to victory over Juventus in the European Champions League.
Ronaldo scored twice as Real defeated the Italian champion 2-1 at the Bernabeu to make it three wins out of three in Group B.
The Portuguese star has now scored seven goals in this season’s competition, netting either side of a Fernando Llorente strike to seal the points.
“We have taken a very important step towards securing qualification,” Real captain Iker Casillas told reporters.
“It wasn’t easy but we have taken the first step, getting nine points from three matches. We have to go to Turin now and at least avoid defeat.”
Juventus now finds itself in danger of being eliminated at the Group Stage after taking just two points from its opening three games.
Its case was not helped by Turkish side Galatasaray, which defeated FC Copenhagen 3-1 to move up to second in the group.
Real, which is currently third in La Liga, will now travel to Barcelona with the mission of inflicting a first league defeat of the season on its arch rival.
Coach Carlo Ancelotti could even give $138 million signing Gareth Bale a place in the team after the Wales international made a cameo appearance as a substitute following his recovery from a thigh injury.
“He came on when the match has lost its intensity,” Ancelotti said at a news conference.
“That didn’t help him play better but it was important for him to get some time on the pitch,” added the Italian. “I think now he is ready to start a match.”
While Ronaldo stole the show in the Spanish capital, it was Zlatan Ibrahimovic who lit up Brussels with a four-goal salvo.
The Swede, who is set to come up against Ronaldo in the World Cup playoff, scored a hat-trick inside 19 minutes as Paris Saint-Germain crushed Anderlecht 5-0.
Ibrahimovic added a fourth on 62 minutes to take his tally to nine in his past four appearances.
Edinson Cavani added a fifth as PSG underlined its credentials as serious challengers.
“It was a really good game with plenty of positives all over the pitch. It was the perfect match,” declared PSG coach Laurent Blanc.
“Ibrahimovic’s four goals were exceptional. It is difficult to say which was the best.
“Winning the Champions League would be a dream for all the players and the board. But it is a difficult objective.
“We need to go one step at a time and the first is to win the group.”
PSG sit top of Group C with maximum points — five ahead of Olympiakos which was held to a 1-1 draw at Benfica.
Defending champion Bayern Munich eased to a 5-0 win over Czech side Viktoria Plzen to maintain its perfect start to the competition.
Franck Ribery scored twice, while there were also goals for David Alaba, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Mario Gotze.
“I am happy with the performance of the players,” Bayern boss Pep Guardiola told reporters.
“I believe that in the European matches this season, including the Super Cup win over Chelsea, we have played well but in the Bundesliga it has taken us longer to click into gear and perhaps we need more time.”
Bayern has taken nine points from nine and sits top of Group D with Manchester City in second place.
Sergio Aguero scored twice as City won 2-1 at CSKA Moscow in a game which was marred by racist chanting.
Manchester United claimed a vital 1-0 win over Real Sociedad at Old Trafford thanks an own goal by Inigo Martinez.
The home side wasted several other chances to increase their lead while the visiting side struck the crossbar through Antoine Griezmann.
“I thought we played well tonight. I thought we created opportunities,” said United manager David Moyes, whose side was held to a 1-1 draw by Southampton in the Premier League last weekend.
“But while it was 1-0, I still had feelings of Saturday left inside me and while it was 1-0, you know you can always lose a goal from a corner kick or a free-kick.
“But it wouldn’t have been right if we hadn’t taken all three points tonight.”
United is one point clear at the top of Group A following Bayer Leverkusen’s 4-0 home win over Shakhtar Donetsk.
Stefan Kiessling scored twice with Simon Rolfes and Sidney Sam also on target for the German side.