The Argentine defender ensured that the Catalans claimed all three points thanks to his timely intervention in the 2-1 win at home to Athletic Bilbao on Sunday night
Atletico Madrid are now just three victories away from winning La Liga after beating Elche 2-0 in the 34th round of matches in the Primera Division.
Atleti started slowly but overcome the promoted side on Friday, while Barcelona moved up to second with a hard-fought 2-1 win at home to Athletic Bilbao as Real Madrid enjoyed a weekend off following their Copa del Rey success and ahead of their Champions League semi-final against Bayern Munich on Wednesday.
Elsewhere, there were wins for Real Sociedad, Celta Vigo, Rayo Vallecano, Sevilla and Malaga in week 34. Here, Goal picks the standout players from the latest games in Spain's top flight.
In goal, Willy Caballero was in fine form for Malaga in the Andalusians' 2-0 win at home to Villarreal on Monday night.
At the back, Joao Miranda defended well and headed Atletico in front in their 2-0 success over Elche. Meanwhile, Alejandro Galvez impressed for Rayo as they beat Betis 3-1 and Javier Mascherano made a vital last-ditch block to ensure that Barcelona returned to winning ways in a 2-1 victory at home to Athletic at Camp Nou.
Rafinha was superb for Celta in the Galicians' 4-2 win at Almeria, while Fabian Orellana was also excellent and sealed the victory with the fourth goal. Vitolo impressed and hit the third for Sevilla in their 4-0 success at home to Granada, while Sergio Canales was on target as Real Sociedad beat Espanyol.
In attack, Kevin Gameiro continued his impressive form with another goal for Sevilla, while Nolito hit two for Celta and Carlos Vela struck the last-gasp winner for Real Sociedad at home to Espanyol.