Real Madrid jumped seven points clear at the top of La Liga with a comeback victory as their title rivals dropped points, while Juventus maintained a one-point lead in Serie A at the weekend.
Ligue 1 leaders Paris St Germain kept up their 100 percent record since the arrival of new coach Carlo Ancelotti and Bayern Munich stayed just out in front with three teams level on points at the top of the Bundesliga.
In England the spotlight fell on the FA Cup with Manchester United knocked out by arch-rivals Liverpool.
Real Madrid recovered from their midweek King's Cup exit to Barcelona as they beat Real Zaragoza 3-1 to move seven points clear at the top of La Liga.
Jose Mourinho's team had to recover from a goal down at home to the league's bottom club with goals from Kaka, Cristiano Ronaldo, who netted his 24th of the campaign, and Mesut Ozil.
Champions Barca failed to respond as they were held 0-0 at struggling Villarreal, their patchy away form returning to damage their bid for a fourth successive league title.
Real have 52 points from 20 games, Barca are on 45 and Valencia, who meet the champions in a King's Cup semi-final first leg on Wednesday, are third with 36 after being held 2-2 at Racing Santander.
Juventus maintained their one-point lead at the top of Serie A with a 2-1 win over Udinese while second-placed AC Milan kept up the pressure with a 3-0 thumping of lowly visitors Cagliari.
Alessandro Matri scored twice as hosts Juve got the better of title rivals Udinese to leave the third-placed team six points off the pace with 38 points from 20 games.
Milan's victory over Cagliari was inspired by Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who curled home a stunning freekick to open the scoring before setting up the second goal for Antonio Nocerino before the break. Massimo Ambrosini later poked home the third.
Lazio moved into fourth on 36 points after Miroslav Klose scored two late goals in two minutes in a 3-0 win at Chievo Verona, which lifted them a point above Inter Milan who slumped to a 1-0 defeat at relegation-threatened Lecce.
There was no Premier League action in england as the FA Cup took centre stage with Liverpool running out 2-1 winners at home to Manchester United in the fourth round.
United captain Patrice Evra was booed throughout the game as the teams met for the first time since Liverpool's Luis Suarez was banned for eight matches for racially abusing the French defender.
Racism accusations were also the backdrop to Chelsea's 1-0 win at Queens Park Rangers where John Terry, in court next week over comments allegedly made to QPR's Anton Ferdinand, was kept away from his fellow defender as the teams decided not to shake hands before kickoff.
In other games, Arsenal came back from two goals down to beat Aston Villa 3-2 while fellow Premier League club Newcastle United were knocked out by Championship (second division) Brighton & Hove Albion after a 1-0 defeat.
Bayern Munich hung on to top spot with a nervous 2-0 win against VfL Wolfsburg with goals from top scorer Mario Gomez and Arjen Robben but can feel the heat from champions Borussia Dortmund and Schalke 04 who kept pace on 40 points.
Dortmund beat Hoffenheim 3-1 with a brace from Shinji Kagawa while Schalke crushed Cologne 4-1 away.
Borussia Moenchengladbach kept up their sensational run to stay a point off the top in fourth place with a 3-0 win at VfB Stuttgart and opened up an eight-point lead over fifth-placed Werder Bremen, who drew 1-1 at home to Bayer Leverkusen.
Ligue 1 leaders Paris St Germain maintained their perfect record under new coach Carlo Ancelotti when a Milan Bisevac goal gave them a 1-0 win at Stade Brest.
PSG now have 46 points from 21 matches and are three points ahead of Montpellier, who won 1-0 at Nice thanks to a last-minute goal by Olivier Giroud.
Nolan Roux scored twice late in the game on his debut for Lille after joining from Brest as the French champions beat visiting St Etienne 3-0 to stay third on 39 points, one point above Olympique Lyon who were 3-1 winners at home to Dijon.
Olympique Marseille stayed in the chasing pack with a 2-1 comeback win at Stade Rennes that lifted them to fifth on 37 points.
PSV Eindhoven took top spot ahead of second-placed Twente Enschede, once again being managed by former England coach Steve McClaren, after the pair registered comfortable home wins against Vitesse Arnhem (3-1) and Groningen (4-1) respectively.
AZ Alkmaar slipped from first to third following a 2-0 defeat at Roda JC Kerkrade.
Swedish teenager John Guidetti's hat-trick inspired Feyenoord to a 4-2 home win over arch-rivals Ajax Amsterdam, their first in six years.