Five things we learned from La Liga

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Real Madrid's forward Karim Benzema (C) is congratulated by teammates Cristiano Ronaldo (R) and defender Nacho Fernandez after scoring on March 18, 2017

Real Madrid ground out a vital 2-1 win at Athletic Bilbao to remain in pole position for a first La Liga title in five years.

However, Barcelona remain on their heels despite doubts in defence, whilst Atletico Madrid closed on Sevilla in the battle for the best of the rest.

Here, AFP Sports looks at five things we learned from week 28 in La Liga.

Ronaldo proves he is a team player

Real Madrid took a huge step towards the title by inflicting Athletic Bilbao's first home defeat in 20 games with a scrappy victory at San Mames.

So often criticised for perceived selfishness, Cristiano Ronaldo played his part as provider.

Ronaldo set up both Real goals for Karim Benzema and Casemiro to become the Madrid player with most assists in La Liga over the past four seasons.

And the World Player of the Year even took his substitution 12 minutes from time with unusual good grace.

Golden Aspas

Celta Vigo had to travel back nearly 5,000 kilometres from Krasnodar in Russia on Thursday night into the lion's den of Deportivo la Coruna's Riazor for a Galician derby on Sunday.

However, everything Iago Aspas touches turns to gold at the moment.

Fresh from scoring in midweek as Celta reached the Europa League quarter-finals in midweek and another call-up to the Spain squad on Friday, he netted the winner in a 1-0 win.

Aspas now has 24 goals in all competition for the season.

Atletico tougher nut for Leicester to crack

If Leicester City were in any doubt as to how much bigger the task in beating Atletico Madrid in the Champions League quarter-finals will be than seeing off Sevilla in the last 16, they got their answer on Sunday.

Atletico swept aside Sevilla 3-1 thanks in part to another stunning goal from Antoine Griezmann.

In contrast to Sevilla's fading form, Atletico are coming strong at the most decisive part of the season and will be huge favourites to reach a third Champions League semi-final in four years against the English champions.

Barca face 3-4-3 dilemma

Barca coach Luis Enrique continued his recent switch to 3-4-3 by naming the same side that thrashed Paris Saint-Germain 6-1 for an action-packed 4-2 win over 10-man Valencia.

Once again Barca leant on the magic of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar up front, but their high defensive line was easily overcome consistently by Valencia even when a man light after half-time.

Only once Enrique switched back to Barca's traditional 4-3-3 25 minutes from time did the hosts look more solid at the back.

With tougher tests against Sevilla, Juventus and Real Madrid to come in a packed April, Enrique must decide to stick or twist in his final two months in charge.

Sporting earn shot at salvation

Four of the bottom five squared off on Sunday and Sporting Gijon emerged the big winners as they closed to within five points of safety.

The two teams just above the drop zone Leganes and Malaga played out a 0-0 draw.

Sporting, meanwhile, had "seven minutes which could value survival" according to sports daily Marca as Lacina Traore, Jean-Sylvain Babin and Carlos Carmona all struck to register their first home win since December in beating Granada 3-1.