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Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho surrendered La Liga title as his misfiring team slipped a massive 13 points behind bitter rivals Barcelona.
Real were held to a disappointing 2-2 home draw by struggling Espanyol before Barcelona compounded his misery by romping to a 4-1 win over second-placed Atletico Madrid, who are now nine points off the pace.
"The league is now impossible," admitted Mourinho. "It is the first time that I have been in a situation like this where my team are a long way off their objectives.
"But I don't want to make a drama out of it, I will treat it as another stage of my life."
At Camp Nou, Radamel Falcao put Atletico ahead after 31 minutes but Barca quickly responded with goals from Adriano and Sergio Busquets before half-time.
After the break, Lionel Messi scored his 24th and 25th league goals of the season and now has 90 in the calendar year as Tito Vilanova's side extended their record start to 15 wins from 16 games.
Falcao headed a Jorge Koke cross against the post and it was an early indication of the danger that Atletico's in-form forward poses.
Barca took their time to get into their stride and even then they were finding it difficult to move forward as Atletico were giving them little space.
Arda Turan quickly chipped a free-kick over the home side's defence for Falcao to run on to but the Colombian's shot drifted past the far post.
He finally made the breakthrough as he latched onto a Diego Costa pass, outpaced Busquets, and finished with a delightful dink over keeper Victor Valdes.
While Barca's forwards were being kept quiet it was full-back Adriano who had the answer as he then curled in a 25-yard strike from the right wing.
Busquets put them ahead just before the break as he kept his composure inside the area and picked his spot past the keeper Thibaut Courtois.