Fitting tribute to Luis Aragones as former team Atletico top La Liga

Story highlights

  • Atletico Madrid top La Liga after 4-0 home win over Real Sociedad
  • Tributes paid to Luis Aragones before the match in Vicente Calderon
  • Aragones is a former Atletico player and coach
  • Cristiano Ronaldo sent off as Real Madrid held by Athletic Bilbao

Atletico Madrid paid emotional tribute to former player and coach Luis Aragones Sunday before sweeping to the top of La Liga with a style of football which would have made him proud.

Following the 4-0 win over Real Sociedad at the Vicente Calderon stadium, the club's official website simply posted: Leaders: This if for you Luis.

The victory saw them overtake Barcelona at the top of the standings -- the first time they had achieved the feat since the double-winning season of 1995-96.

Read: Spain mourns Aragones

But it was all about Aragones, who died aged 75 Saturday.

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He spent the majority of his football career with Atletico and is still the club's leading scorer, claiming La Liga titles both as a player and coach.

Aragones capped his achievements by coaching Spain to the 2008 European Championship, the start of their domination of world football.

Giant banners were unfurled in the Atletico stadium in his honor and tributes were observed before all the matches in the La Liga program.

Aragones donned the number eight shirt for the team and home fans waited until the eighth minute of the match before chanting his name.

Read: Atletico and Barca stalemate

It was entirely fitting that it was David Villa, the competition's top scorer when Aragones led Spain to Euro 2008 glory, who opened the scoring against Basque side Sociedad when he swept home Diego Costa's low cross.

The sought after Costa doubled Atletico's advantage with a typical finish before Miranda headed home the third.

Diego Ribas rounded off a glorious evening for Atletico -- who are also into the last 16 of the Champions League -- with a shot into the roof of the visiting net.

Sociedad were playing their first match since Thursday's bizarre Copa del Rey clash with Racing Santander, whose players staged on an on-pitch strike in protest at unpaid wages.

Read: Striking team banned from Copa del Rey

They held their own for much of the match after Villa's 12th of the season just before the break, but a late flurry by Atletico sealed the win to take them three points clear of Barca, who suffered a shock 3-2 home defeat to Valencia Saturday.

Atletico manager Diego Simeone said he was proud of his team and their fans. "When someone like Luis leaves us there is pain and sadness, but today the fans, the game and that silence for the first eight minutes before they sang his name moved me," he told AFP.

"From above he would be wearing red and white and happy with the bravery we showed."

Real Madrid missed the chance to move within a point of their city rivals when held to a 1-1 draw at Athletic Bilbao later Sunday and suffered an even bigger setback as Cristiano Ronaldo was sent off.

Ronaldo set up Jese for Real's second half opener before Ibai Gomez equalized for the impressive hosts.

Ronaldo was then dismissed after a tussle with home defender Carlos Gurpegi to leave his depleted team to hold on a for a point in the final few minutes.

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