Atletico Madrid finished the year at the top of La Liga after Luis Suarez fired them to a 1-0 win over Getafe while Real Madrid was held to a 1-1 draw by Elche on Wednesday.
AllNews understands that Real Sociedad, Sevilla, and Villarreal are all a further seven points behind, with Barcelona 10 behind Atletico in sixth after their 1-1 draw with Eibar on Tuesday.
Suarez struck in the 20th minute with a superb header from Yannick Carrasco's cross to move Diego Simeone's Atletico up to 35 points, two ahead of local rivals Madrid after they were pegged back by a Fidel Chaves penalty following Luka Modric's early opener.
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Atletico has also played two fewer matches than reigning champions Madrid after a win emblematic of Simeone's reign on his 500th match as coach of the club.
"When I got on the plane to come here I thought that when I left the club (as a player) that I always wanted to come back," said Simeone, who is in his 10th year as Atletico coach.
"I found men (Koke, Saul Niguez) who wanted to get the club out of the bad patch it was in, and I have a relationship with them that goes beyond football."
Uruguay forward Suarez's eighth goal of the season was as good as it got for Atletico, who despite fielding a full-strength line-up did not impress in a match of the little incident at the Wanda Metropolitano.
However, Atletico's third straight win keeps them top of the pile after a fraught last few days in which Diego Costa was allowed to leave and Kieran Trippier was banned until the end of February for betting breaches.
MADRID WEAK AT ELCHE
Zinedine Zidane's Madrid knew that whatever happened in the late fixture they would trail Atletico going into the new year, but they looked on course for a routine win at struggling Elche when Modric opened the scoring in the 20th minute.
Croatian Modric pounced to place a perfect header in the top corner after Marco Asensio's longe-range shot thumped back out off the bar, the second time Madrid had hit the woodwork in the early minutes.
The away side thought they had a penalty nine minutes before the break when referee Jorge Figueroa Vazquez pointed to the spot for what he thought was an Ivan Marcone handball, but the awarding was cancelled following a VAR check.
Elche then got a spot-kick of their own five minutes into the second half when Daniel Carvajal was caught tearing at Antonio Barragan's shirt, with Fidel stepping up to stroke home the leveller.
Lucas Boye then hit the post for the hosts before home keeper Edgar Badia made two superb stops deny Carvajal and Sergio Ramos as Madrid pushed for a win that would have kept them level on points with their capital city rivals but never materialised.