Star trio aiming to lead Real Madrid past Valencia

Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta and Xavi have stolen headlines for Barcelona over the past few seasons with a litter of trophies and highlight reels to their credit, but Real Madrid has its own trio of stars making history.

Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Gonzalo Higuain have combined to score 101 goals in all competitions this term, the most ever recorded by three Real Madrid players in a single season. They will be looking to power Madrid to another La Liga victory on Sunday when it welcomes third-place Valencia to the Bernabeu.

Ronaldo has bagged 49 goals in all competitions, but his 37 tallies in La Liga puts him one ahead of Messi for the league lead.

Messi and Ronaldo are scoring at a rate that cannot be rivaled by any other player in Spain's top flight (or the world) as the next most potent scorers are Higuain and Atletico Madrid's Falcao, both on 20 league goals. Benzema sits just behind them having netted 17 times in La Liga.

Real Madrid once had a comfortable 10-point lead over Barcelona in the league, but that cushion has dwindled to six points after a pair of successive draws in March. The Catalans could cut the deficit to just three points if they pick up a win at Real Zaragoza on Saturday, but a win for Jose Mourinho's men Sunday would see the six-point lead restored.

Valencia also enjoyed cozy situation in La Liga as its position in third-place never looked threatened. But a disappointing slide, particularly its current three-game winless run, paired with Malaga's streak of five wins from its last seven matches has seen that lead fall to just one point. It is undoubtedly a tall order, but for Unai Emery's men to go four points clear of fourth-place Malaga, they will need to contain Madrid's lethal trio of scoring threats.

Two Spanish sides will return to league action on Sunday after Europa League play midweek as Athletic Bilbao faces Sevilla at San Mames and Atletico Madrid heads from Germany to Valencia to face Levante. Mallorca also takes the pitch on Sunday as it welcomes Granada to the Estadio Son Moix.

On Saturday, Espanyol hopes to inch closer to fourth place with a win over Real Sociedad, Sporting Gijon looks to climb out of the cellar with three points against Getafe, Rayo Vallecano aims to snap a three-game losing skid when it hosts Osasuna and Real Betis looks to make it four league games without a loss when it welcomes Villarreal to the Benito Villamarin.

And in Monday's lone La Liga contest, Malaga looks to overturn a disappointing 2-0 loss to Real Betis in its last outing when it welcomes Racing to the Estadio La Rosaleda. Malaga is vying for fourth place and a qualification spot in the Champions League, while Racing toils in the relegation zone as it has failed to pick up a league win since Jan. 15.