Jose Mourinho's men put in a scintillating first-half performance to heap further misery on Juan Carlos Garrido's struggling visitors.
A goal each from Karim Benzema, Kaka, and Angel di Maria proved enough for Real Madrid to defeat Villarreal 3-0 in Primera Division action at Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday.
The damage was done inside the opening half-hour, as the hosts tore their struggling guests to shreds with a superb display of attacking style and substance.
Jose Mourinho's side came rapidly out of the blocks and quickly established a high tempo in the match. The ball was in the Villarreal net within three minutes, but Sergio Ramos' headed goal was rightfully judged to be offside.
It took just three minutes for the hosts to strike again, and this time it counted.
Di Maria found space on the halfway line and drove a glorious pass over the top of the Villarreal defense for Benzema, who took the ball down with his chest and cheekily clipped over the onrushing Diego Lopez.
Madrid struck again six minutes later. Benzema fed the ball into the feet of Kaka on the edge of the Villarreal box, and with his back to goal, the Brazilian swivelled round and drove into the bottom corner with his left foot.
The home side heaped further misery on Juan Carlos Garrido's men on the half-hour mark. From a Villarreal set-piece in the Madrid half, the hosts cleared and counterattacked at tremendous pace through Marcelo down the left hand side.
He picked out Benzema in the middle, and the Frenchman slipped a lovely pass through for Di Maria, who shuffled the ball onto his left foot before calmly slotting home.
In front of an expectant Santiago Bernabeu crowd, the second half was a non-event as Madrid took its foot off the gas and allowed Villarreal more possession of the ball. A cagey match then ensued, with challenges going in thick and fast in the midfield area, but neither side truly threatening to add to the scoresheet.
The visitors enjoyed extended periods on the ball in the second 45 minutes, but failed to create any concrete chances. The closest they came was from a speculative shot just outside the box from Mario that Iker Casillas managed to parry away to safety.
In the end, Madrid's vibrant first half had proved more than enough to ensure that they edge into second place in the table, while Villarreal remains anchored in the bottom three, with just a single league victory this season.