Lionel Messi secured a record seventh Pichichi award after the Barcelona star finished the 2019-20 season as the leading scorer in LaLiga.

The Argentinian equalled Athletic Bilbao great Telmo Zarra's record of six awards last season, but he is now out on his own after another superb campaign in front of goal.

His double in the final-day 5-0 rout of Deportivo Alaves took him to 25 goals in 33 appearances.

It was not enough to guide Barca to a third consecutive title, however, with Real Madrid pulling away in the final weeks to seal top spot.

Madrid striker Karim Benzema was four goals behind on 21, while Villarreal's Gerard Moreno was third with 18 goals, two ahead of Messi's Barca team-mate Luis Suarez.

Zinedine Zidane is the "prodigal son" whose status as a top coach was already secure before Real Madrid clinched LaLiga glory on Thursday, says Christian Karembeu.

Madrid defeated Villarreal 2-1 at the Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano to dethrone Barcelona and win the top-flight title for just the third time in the past 12 seasons.

Zidane led Los Blancos to success in the Champions League three straight times during his first spell in charge of the club and has now overseen 11 trophy wins across both his tenures.

Despite questions about his true ability as a coach given all his success has come with one of the world's biggest clubs, Zidane's former France team-mate, and ex-Madrid player, Karembeu thinks his credentials were validated before he returned to the club last year.

He told Stats Perform News: "[Zinedine] Zidane doesn't need to prove to anyone anymore that he's a great coach. Everyone can agree on that, winning three Champions Leagues in a row is enough. And then he won LaLiga.

"For me, he's the prodigal son and he deserves to win so many titles because he's innovative and he's learned a lot, despite players coming and going, he managed to create a winning team, there's nothing else to say."

Karim Benzema struck both Madrid's goals against Villarreal to take his LaLiga tally for the season to 21 – the first time he has surpassed 20 in back-to-back league campaigns.

Asked if Benzema is a contender to win the Ballon d'Or, Karembeu said: "Zizou himself said it, all his players deserve the Ballon d'Or, so that includes Karim as well, obviously.

"Karim has always played efficiently in all of his games and he has also scored plenty of goals every season, in all competitions.

"He knew how to move between the lines when Cristiano [Ronaldo] was there but can also offer himself to lead the attack when he needs to.

"He knew to play with [Gonzalo] Higuain, with [Alvaro] Morata, with Cristiano, and with [Gareth] Bale. And now he's still there, still efficient as ever."

Madrid's defence was key to their LaLiga triumph and if they let in fewer than three against Leganes on Sunday they will set a club record for the fewest goals conceded in a 38-game season.

Captain Sergio Ramos has been central to that effort, while he has contributed 10 goals to equal the most prolific LaLiga campaign by a defender since the turn of the millennium.

Ramos has entered the final year of his contract but expressed a hope to retire at Madrid amid their title celebrations, and Karembeu detailed how important he is to the team.

"I think Sergio Ramos is the key player for Los Blancos," said Karembeu.

"He's the captain. He's a role model for everyone. He's a warrior, he does his job. He also enjoys the game, but when they have to win, he knows how to raise his level and inspire Real Madrid to victory.

"When he signed for Real Madrid and took Fernando Hierro's number on his jersey, a defender who had scored many goals, I already knew he'd be a success.

"Sergio is doing very well. He has surpassed everyone. When he's playing good, the whole squad is playing good."

Real Madrid are champions of Spain again, having sealed LaLiga glory by defeating Villarreal on Thursday.

GAME INFO

Madrid trailed Barcelona by two points when LaLiga was suspended in March amid the coronavirus pandemic, but a season-best 10-game winning run catapulted them to the title.

With the help of Opta, we take a look at the numbers behind Los Blancos' latest triumph.

 

THE BIG PICTURE

By claiming their 34th LaLiga title – the equivalent of a 38 per cent success rate in the competition's 89-year history – Madrid have won the league eight more times than any other team. Barcelona are the nearest contenders on 26, while Atletico Madrid, who sit third in the all-time list, have taken home the trophy 24 times fewer than their more illustrious neighbours. Madrid topping the table this term means that, although 63 different teams have featured in LaLiga, only nine have won the title.

COACHING HISTORY ON THE HORIZON

Zinedine Zidane has now led Madrid to 11 pieces of silverware across his two spells with the club – with three more he will equal Miguez Munoz as the most successful coach in their history. The Frenchman has joined Fabio Capello (1996-97 and 2006-07) and Luis Molowny (1977-78, 1978-79 and 1985-86) as the only Madrid bosses to win LaLiga titles in different stints at the helm.

CLASICO AND DERBI DOMINANCE

Madrid avoided defeat and kept a clean sheet in both their LaLiga games against Barca this season – the first time they have done so since the 1974-75 campaign under Milan Mijanic. They also went unbeaten against Atletico and claimed a pair of shutouts, making it the first LaLiga season in which they did not concede a goal in El Clasico or El Derbi.

STRENGTH AT THE BACK

A strong defence has underpinned Madrid's success and they are on course to set a club record for the fewest goals conceded in a 38-game LaLiga season – their previous best was 26 in 1987-88. They also need one more clean sheet to record 20 in a single top-flight campaign for the first time in their history. That would not be the only impressive achievement for Thibaut Courtois, who has tied Francisco Buyo (1977-78) for the most clean sheets by a Madrid goalkeeper in a season (18). The Belgian has saved each of the 26 shots on target from outside the area he has faced in LaLiga this term. Since at least 2003-04, no team has finished a season without conceding a goal from outside the box.

GOALS FROM EVERYWHERE

Madrid have used 26 players this term and 21 of those have scored – the most by a team in a single LaLiga season in the 21st century. Captain and centre-back Sergio Ramos has found the back of the net 10 times – six from the penalty spot – and if he scores again will set a record for the best tally by a defender in a campaign since the turn of the millennium. Karim Benzema has also upped his game since Zidane's return has topped 20 goals in back-to-back seasons for the first time.

Karim Benzema scored a goal in each half as Real Madrid clinched a 34th LaLiga title with a 2-1 victory over Villarreal.

The Frenchman's 20th and 21st league goals - the second of which came from a contentious penalty - of the season ultimately earned a win at Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano that meant Barcelona's result against Osasuna was rendered immaterial.

Zinedine Zidane's men were in control against game opponents until Vicente Iborra's late header made for a nervy finish, but a 10th straight win since LaLiga's resumption means Madrid are champions with a game to spare.

Benzema has scored seven times in that run and it was fitting his contribution should round out their title success given the striker's goals and a solid defensive base have been the pillars of Madrid's campaign.

This game did not initially look like being the banana skin it had the potential to be and it felt a matter of time before Madrid found an opening, albeit bar Luka Modric's long-range drive their early endeavours proved fruitless.

The opener arrived after 29 minutes, though. Casemiro picked off Sofian Chakla's pass and Modric quickly laid into the path of Benzema, who drilled through the legs of Sergio Asenjo.

Asenjo denied Dani Carjaval early in the second half after the full-back showed quick feet to get a left-foot shot away.

Madrid were gifted a golden opportunity to double the lead when Sergio Ramos tore forward and was awarded a dubious penalty when the referee judged Chakla to have clipped Los Blancos' captain.

Ramos cheekily passed the ball off the spot for Benzema to score, only for the latter to have encroached, but Benzema clinically dispatched the re-take into the bottom-left corner.

Toni Kroos rattled the crossbar prior to Iborra's thumping header to set up a tense finale, in which Thibaut Courtois brilliantly saved from Bruno Soriano and Iborra in the same move.

Marco Asensio thought he had calmed the nerves in the final minute of added time only to be denied by the VAR, but it did little to dampen the mood of the new champions.


What does it mean? Madrid reign again in Spain

There are few who would argue Madrid are not worthy champions. The goals again have not flowed as freely as once they did in the halcyon days of Cristiano Ronaldo but Zidane's men have been far and away more consistent than deposed champions Barcelona.

Madrid have now won 11 trophies during Zidane's two spells in charge, while with 34 top-flight titles they have eight more than their Clasico rivals.

Benzema the Karim of Madrid's title-winning crop

Much of Madrid's success this term has been built on the back of a stoic defence that has been breached just 23 times.

But Benzema has been their chief goal threat and was once again outstanding at linking Madrid's midfield and attack. A landmark goal is just reward for a tremendous campaign and he has now registered 20-plus goals in consecutive LaLiga seasons for the first time.

Los Blancos accept Chakla gift

Chakla had already been booked having been caught out by Eden Hazard and his lack of awareness was pounced upon by Casemiro. He was unlucky with the penalty award but it was not a night the full-back will remember with fondness.

What's next?

Madrid will celebrate their title triumph with a short hop to Leganes, while Villarreal end their own campaign at home to Eibar.

Karim Benzema wants to return to Lyon one day but is in no rush to leave Real Madrid because he has everything he could want at the Santiago Bernabeu, according to his former agent.

Benzema came through the academy at Lyon and spent five years with the senior side until joining Madrid in 2009, having established himself as one of Europe's most promising young players.

The Frenchman has gone on to enjoy huge success in his 11 years with Madrid, winning 17 trophies and scoring 246 goals.

For a while it looked like Benzema's Madrid career might peter out, with his record of just 16 LaLiga goals across the 2016-17 and 2017-18 seasons leaving a lot to be desired, and fans jeering him on a regular basis.

But he has enjoyed a resurgence over the past two years and has been vital to the club's form this term, with Los Blancos able to wrap up the 2019-20 LaLiga title on Thursday.

An exit certainly does not appear to be on the horizon, but the 32-year-old's former representative is adamant Benzema wants to return to Lyon in some capacity in future.

"Today, with the situation he lives at Madrid, he is at the height of what a footballer wants," Karim Djaziri told OLTV. "Playing at Madrid, being very close to your coach, adored by the public. Today, it is not possible [to return].

"But, since he left Lyon, Karim has only one desire, it is to return to Lyon. Will it be as a player? It remains a regret for Karim not to have gone further in the Champions League.

"When he left, OL made the semi-finals. When it was wrong with [Jose] Mourinho, he would say to me: 'I want to go back to Lyon.' I said to him: 'No, you're going to force it and you're going to get there', and he got there.

"It's in the back of his mind, I think it's possible. If he has legs and he thinks it's time to go and do something good, he'll come back.

"If he is not as a player, I see him returning to OL in another role perhaps. I know he really wants it."

Real Madrid's hunger to return from lockdown at their best is what has given them an advantage in the title race, Zinedine Zidane believes.

Madrid can win LaLiga for the first time in three seasons should they defeat Villarreal on Thursday, or if Barcelona drop points against Osasuna.

Los Blancos need only two points from their final two matches of the season to claim their 34th top-flight crown.

Zidane insists there is no complacency within his squad and lauded the desire with which his players returned with following the three-month suspension due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"No, not at all," Zidane said in a news conference when asked if his side already felt like champions.

"The beautiful thing we have is the energy we put in every day, day by day is what motivates us. The rest, we don't know what will happen.

"The players when they get here know the history of this club, what it is, what it wants, the ambition we always have.

"The particular thing about now is that after the confinement, when we returned to work, after staying home almost three months, the players wanted to do great things.

"You could see it in training. You could see it in games, but I see them in training, they trained phenomenally, they wanted to stay afterwards and that tells you everything."

Though his side require only two more points, due to their head-to-head record with Barca this term, Zidane is demanding victory.

"I would not want two draws. It is not what I prefer or not, it is that we are here for one thing, to think about tomorrow's game and win it," he added.

"It is what motivates us. We prepare for that. Villarreal knows how to play, it is a very difficult opponent, as always. I think it will be the most difficult of the last ones we have had."

Karim Benzema's sensational form has been a driving force in Madrid's title tilt, with the Frenchman having scored 19 LaLiga goals this season.

There have been suggestions Benzema should be in the running for this year's Ballon d'Or award and Zidane claimed every Madrid player could be worthy of the prize.

"In football, everyone can have a say. For me, my players are the best," Zidane said.

"Karim is not only this year, he has done very well for many years. The Ballon d'Or is won by only one, and everyone can comment, but for me all my players deserve it."

Real Madrid moved one win away from LaLiga glory with a hard-fought -1 victory over Granada at Los Carmenes on Monday. 

Goals from Ferland Mendy – his first for the club – and Karim Benzema restored Madrid's four-point advantage over Barcelona with two games remaining. 

Mendy slammed home a brilliant finish from a tight angle to become the 21st Madrid player to score in LaLiga this season, while Benzema increased his top-flight tally this term to 19 as he made it 2-0.

Although Darwin Machis pulled one back five minutes into the second half, Madrid survived a couple of late scares to make it nine straight victories and edge closer to a 34th LaLiga title. 

Mendy won the penalty that put Madrid on their way to a 2-0 victory over Deportivo Alaves last time out and he got them off to a great start again, beating Victor Diaz for pace and smashing into the roof of the net from an acute angle in the 10th minute. 

Benzema doubled the advantage following a swift counter-attacking move six minutes later, the Frenchman allowed time and space by Diaz to shift the ball onto his right foot and pick out the far corner.

Granada switched to a back four and quickly tested Thibaut Courtois, but Domingos Duarte's header was kept out of the bottom-right corner. 

Benzema had a powerful shot tipped over by Rui Silva before half-time and Granada reduced the deficit shortly after the restart, Machis firing under Courtois after Yangel Herrera caught Casemiro in possession. 

Zinedine Zidane responded to Granada's improvement by sending Rodrygo and Marco Asensio on for Federico Valverde and Isco just after the hour mark, with Madrid sitting back and consolidating. 

Substitute Antonin had an acrobatic volley kept out by Courtois before Ramon Azeez saw his 85th-minute effort blocked on the line by returning captain Sergio Ramos, ensuring the visitors secured three valuable points. 
 

What does it mean? Zidane shows adaptability 

Madrid moved away from their traditional 4-3-3, with Valverde, Luka Modric and Isco in a narrow line behind Benzema. Having five midfielders in the starting line-up enabled them to quickly take control of possession and evade Granada's press and counter-attacking threat. 

The hosts got more joy after coach Diego Martinez moved away from his back five, but Zidane introduced Rodrygo and Asensio to retain an attacking threat as Madrid focused on stifling their opponents. 

Brilliant Benzema 

The captain's armband may have returned to Ramos but Benzema led by example from the off, chasing back early on despite Madrid's wealth of midfielders. He took his goal sublimely and went close to a second before half-time. 

Double Diaz faults 

Diaz was slow to close Mendy down and was then beaten far too easily on the opener, while he was punished for giving Benzema ample time and space to pick his spot. He was replaced by Antonio Puertas at half-time. 

What's next? 

Madrid will be looking to clinch just a second title in eight seasons at home to Villarreal on Thursday, when Granada travel to relegation-threatened Real Mallorca. 

Real Madrid moved a significant step nearer to a 34th LaLiga title as Karim Benzema set them on the way to a 2-0 win over Deportivo Alaves.

The gap to Barcelona in second place is back to four points, and it would take a mighty collapse from this position for the teams to swap positions.

Marco Asensio grabbed Madrid's second goal after Benzema's early penalty, and Zinedine Zidane's side could have stretched their lead as a string of chances came their way.

But lowly Alaves contributed plenty to an entertaining game, enough to suggest they can survive in the top flight under their new coach Juan Muniz.

Zinedine Zidane believes Karim Benzema's incredible assist in Real Madrid's win over Espanyol may be one of the plays of the season.

Benzema produced a moment of magic to set up Casemiro in Madrid's 1-0 victory that sent them two points clear atop LaLiga on Sunday.

The forward's outrageous backheel through the legs of defender Bernardo Espinosa gave Casemiro a simple finish.

Madrid head coach Zidane was unsurprised and believes Benzema's skill could go down as one of the best moments of the campaign.

"It doesn't surprise me. He is a player who invents things," he said, via AS.

"And then Casemiro is there. It can be one of the plays of the championship."

The goal lifted Madrid two points clear of rivals Barcelona with six games remaining in the LaLiga season.

Zidane said he expected the title race to go down to the final day of the campaign.

"Six games are missing and this will be decided on the last day. You have to fight in every game," he said.

"Today the second played against the last. You never know in this league."

Madrid are next in action against Getafe on Thursday.

Casemiro was unsurprised by Karim Benzema's incredible assist in Real Madrid's 1-0 win over Espanyol in LaLiga on Sunday.

Benzema produced a moment of magic to set up Casemiro as Madrid moved two points clear at the top of LaLiga.

The forward's 117th assist of his Madrid career came via an outrageous backheel through the legs of defender Bernardo Espinosa to give Casemiro a simple finish.

Casemiro said he knew Benzema was capable of such brilliance, paying tribute to the 32-year-old.

"What Karim did, for me is normal. We all know that the qualities he has aren't of a number nine, but of a number 10," the midfielder said.

"I know him, I know how he plays and the quality he possesses. I asked for the ball in space, and his backheel pass was incredible.

"It's Karim's goal. It's the backheel pass of a number 10 and you have to congratulate him."

With six games remaining, Madrid are on track to win LaLiga, holding a two-point lead over rivals Barcelona.

Casemiro is eager to help deliver Madrid a first LaLiga title since 2016-17.

"There is still a lot left, but we know that each match is a final," he said. "We want this league."

Madrid are next in action with a clash against Getafe on Thursday.

Real Madrid star Karim Benzema said he knew Casemiro was waiting on his ingenious match-winning assist against Espanyol, explaining: "I see football like that!"

Benzema stole the show as LaLiga leaders Madrid moved two points clear of bitter rivals Barcelona atop the table with a 1-0 win over bottom side Espanyol on Sunday.

At the end of a first half in which Madrid had hammered on the door without finding a way past former goalkeeper Diego Lopez, Benzema came up with a moment of sublime skill.

Benzema played a backheel through the legs of defender Bernardo Espinosa to grant Casemiro a simple finish for the decisive goal on the stroke of half-time.

"It was a good play, but the most important thing is the goal afterwards," Benzema said afterwards. "Casemiro gets it right. We are very happy."

Pressed on the piece of skill, the French forward added: "I see football like that! I knew Casemiro was coming from behind."

The goal was as important as it was arresting, as Madrid capitalised on Barca's failure to beat lowly Celta Vigo on Saturday.

"Of course we look at what Barca do, even though we are very focused on us," Benzema said. "I am not going to talk about Barca, but we are fine.

"We go from match to match and each game is a final for the LaLiga title.

"We are happy and we wanted to win. We left very psyched to get three points to take home."

Madrid have won all five of their matches since LaLiga resumed in June following the coronavirus-enforced break.

Zinedine Zidane's in-form Madrid play host to Getafe in the Spanish capital on Thursday.

Karim Benzema earned lofty praise after his sensational assist teed up the decisive goal in Real Madrid's 1-0 win at Espanyol.

Casemiro grabbed the only goal at RCDE Stadium to send Madrid two points clear at the top of LaLiga, yet the 45th-minute strike owed almost everything to the skill of Benzema.

The former France international's 117th assist of his Madrid career came via an outrageous backheel through the legs of defender Bernardo Espinosa to give Casemiro a simple finish.

The stunning touch swiftly prompted comparisons to ex-Madrid great Guti, who famously teed up Benzema for an open goal with a similarly stunning touch against Deportivo La Coruna in 2010.

As clips were shared of both goals on social media, Guti joined in the conversation to praise his former team-mate.

Sharing a picture of his own assist, the 43-year-old tagged Benzema and posted a series of clapping emojis.

"Magic, friend," he wrote. "Brutal."

Real Madrid climbed above Barcelona at the top of LaLiga as second-half goals from Sergio Ramos and Karim Benzema clinched a 2-1 win over Real Sociedad. 

Barca's goalless draw with Sevilla on Friday handed Zinedine Zidane's men the chance to leapfrog their rivals at the summit - and they duly seized the opportunity with a hard-fought triumph on the road. 

Ramos put Madrid in front from the penalty spot five minutes into the second half, while Benzema added a second less than two minutes after Adnan Januzaj had a goal controversially ruled out for Sociedad. 

The visitors lost Ramos to injury and were given a scare when Mikel Merino pulled one back seven minutes from time, but they held on to make it three wins from three since the restart and overtake Barcelona by virtue of a superior head-to-head record.  

Madrid took nearly an hour to get going in their 3-0 win against Valencia last time out and it was a similar story here against top-four hopefuls Sociedad. 

Vinicius Junior fired over from a good position inside 110 seconds and was then denied by Alex Remiro late in the first half, either side of Benzema's low effort being kept out. 

But Madrid did not have to wait too long into the second half to find a breakthrough, Vinicius tripped by Diego Llorente as he was about to shoot after gliding past two players. 

Ramos made no mistake from the spot, the skipper equalling his best-ever LaLiga goals haul of seven by sending Remiro the wrong way. 

Madrid lost their captain to an apparent knee injury 10 minutes later and nearly suffered a bigger blow when substitute Januzaj picked out the corner with a low drive, only for Merino - deemed to be in Thibaut Courtois' line of sight - to be adjudged offside. 

Sociedad's pain was doubled when Benzema brought down Federico Valverde's cross and fired home, the goal allowed to stand despite a VAR check for a possible handball by the Frenchman. 

And despite an unmarked Merino thumping home at the back post, Madrid saw things through to keep their momentum going.  

 

What does it mean? Advantage Madrid in tight title tussle 

Barcelona looked well below par in their stalemate with Sevilla two days ago and Madrid made them pay with this well-earned victory.  

Zidane's side are level on 65 points with their bitter rivals but edge in front after taking four points from the two Clasico encounters earlier in the campaign. 

Vinicius steps up for Madrid 

Brought into the side for the rested Eden Hazard on the left of Madrid's front three, Vinicius was the visitors' liveliest player in the first half and won the penalty for the key breakthrough soon after the restart. 

James unable to take his chance 

It is no secret that James is not fancied by Zidane, this the Colombia international's first league start since October. He offered little during his 78 minutes on the field and may well have to wait a little while for his next opportunity to impress. 

What's next? 

The games keep coming thick and fast for both sides, with Madrid hosting Real Mallorca on Wednesday and Sociedad at home to Celta Vigo the same day. 

Karim Benzema never imagined he would be among Real Madrid's top five goalscorers after surpassing Ferenc Puskas on Thursday.

The striker scored a brace as Madrid moved back within two points of rivals and LaLiga leaders Barcelona with a 3-0 win over Valencia.

Benzema moved past Puskas (242 goals) and into fifth on Madrid's all-time list with 243, behind only Cristiano Ronaldo (451), Raul (323), Alfredo Di Stefano (308) and Santillana (290).

The Frenchman, who arrived at Madrid from Lyon in 2009, was happy with his achievement.

"I didn't imagine anything like this, I'm very happy. I've been working for a long time now and I always put it in to keep improving," Benzema said, via the club's website.

"I hope I can keep going. I'm very happy to be playing for this club."

Benzema's second goal was spectacular as he controlled a Marco Asensio pass brilliantly before unleashing a volley past Valencia goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen.

The 32-year-old said everything moved so quickly as he scored to make it 3-0, before Lee Kang-in was later sent off for Valencia.

"It wasn't an easy game due to the opposition who made it hard, but we won and didn't concede," Benzema said.

"It's very important because Valencia are a very good team. For the second goal everything happened so fast.

"It was a cross from Marco, I control it, I shot with the left foot and it went in. It looks easy, but you have to do it so fast."

Benzema has scored 21 goals in 38 games this season, with Madrid back in action against Real Sociedad on Sunday.

Real Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane said he was "delighted" for Karim Benzema after the star forward surpassed Ferenc Puskas on the club's all-time scorers list.

Benzema scored a brilliant brace to inspire a 3-0 LaLiga win over 10-man Valencia at Madrid Castilla's Alfredo Di Stefano stadium on Thursday.

After opening the scoring just past the hour-mark, Benzema completed the victory in stunning fashion with four minutes remaining – rifling a volley past Valencia goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen following Marco Asensio's 74th-mintue effort.

Benzema's two-goal display in the Spanish capital took his tally to 243 goals for Madrid across all competitions, leapfrogging club great Puskas (242) for fifth on the all-time list.

"It was a great goal, for the move and the finish – I'm delighted for Karim's goals," Zidane said after Madrid moved back within two points of leaders and rivals Barcelona.

It was a memorable outing for Asensio, who marked his long-awaited return by scoring with his first touch against Valencia.

Asensio sustained an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury last July and returned to the pitch as a 74th-minute substitute on Thursday – the Spaniard's impact immediate.

"This means a lot for him. We're happy to see him back on the pitch," Zidane said. "After so many months out, to come back and score a great goal in his first involvement makes me really happy.

"He was already happy just to get out on to the pitch and then he was able to score straight away, which shows he is already involved."

Eden Hazard also impressed for Madrid – the Belgium star combining with Luka Modric to tee up Benzema for the opening goal in Madrid.

Injury and fitness have hampered Hazard's maiden Madrid campaign, but the former Chelsea attacker showed glimpses of why Los Blancos invested so heavily in the 29-year-old.

"This was a really good game from Hazard," Zidane added. "Physically, he was good and played 80 minutes. Sometimes you might think he's starting to look tired, but then he picks up the ball and sprints away."

Madrid remain within touching distance of Barca with nine matches remaining in the coronavirus-impacted 2019-20 LaLiga season.

On the title race, Zidane said: "We know that it will be like this until the end, but today we can be happy because of what we've done in the game.

"They are the ones fighting; we have to enjoy and congratulate the players because it was a complete game and then think about the next game against Real Sociedad."

Barca will face third-placed Sevilla on Friday and Zidane added: "We depend on what we are going to do, knowing the situation. I'll watch the game, but I don't have the idea in my head that Barcelona will slip up; we have to think about ourselves."

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