The Straits Times
Published on Dec 02, 2012

Barcelona make record start to season, Real Madrid win derby


MADRID (AFP) - Lionel Messi closed in on Gerd Mueller's calendar year scoring mark as Barcelona crushed Athletic Bilbao 5-1 Saturday to set a new record for the best ever start to a La Liga season and stay 11 points ahead of Real Madrid.

Defending champions Real edged city rivals Atletico 2-0 with Cristiano Ronaldo on target to keep their slender hopes of a title repeat alive.

Barca have now put together 13 wins and a draw from their first 14 matches to beat the previous best start in the Spanish top flight set by Real Madrid in the 1991-92 season.

"It is great to have achieved this but I am happier still with the performance of my players and that even at 5-1 we continued to keep pressing and trying to score," said Barca coach Tito Vilanova.