Karim Benzema had a hand in three goals as he inspired Real Madrid to a 5-0 win over Leganes in LaLiga on Wednesday.

With last weekend's scheduled Clasico against Barcelona postponed due to political tension in Catalonia, Madrid appeared to have fun on their return to action as they toyed with rock-bottom Leganes, who had no answer to the classy Benzema at the Santiago Bernabeu.

The Frenchman was central to a brutal Madrid start that saw them lead 2-0 within eight minutes – Benzema setting up Rodrygo Goes and Toni Kroos, before Sergio Ramos got in on the act from the spot.

Benzema eventually got a deserved goal of his own from 12 yards, taking him to seven for the season, and Luka Jovic finally got his first goal for the club in stoppage time as Los Blancos moved up to second – behind Barcelona – in the table.

Madrid looked in the mood right from the start and quickly charged into their two-goal lead, as Benzema teed up Rodrygo for a straightforward finish, before Kroos' deft flick from the striker's low cross left Juan Soriano with no chance.

Ramos increased the deficit in the 24th minute with a penalty, though he needed two opportunities as Soriano – who conceded the spot-kick for fouling Eden Hazard – was penalised via VAR for coming off his line when saving the Madrid captain's first attempt.

Benzema went agonisingly close to a fine goal just past the hour when his 25-yard strike came back off Soriano's left-hand post.

But Soriano had no such luck soon after when Benzema slammed home a cool penalty, won by Luka Modric after a clumsy tackle by Kenneth Omeruo.

Jovic wrapped up an emphatic victory late on, meeting Dani Carvajal's cross with a fine header to get off the mark for Madrid in his 10th outing.

 

What does it mean? Normal service restored in LaLiga

When promoted Granada sat top of the table at the weekend, there was certainly a feeling of refreshing unpredictability in LaLiga.

But, with Barca demolishing Real Valladolid on Tuesday and Madrid making light work of Leganes, the traditional heavyweights lead the way again at the summit.

Benzema bullies Leganes' backline

What a renaissance Benzema is enjoying. He has always been a very good link-up striker, providing plenty of assists across his Madrid career, but his display on Wednesday was quintessential Benzema. He worked selflessly and laid on two assists in a fine performance, capping it off with a well-taken penalty.

A miserable day for Omeruo

It was a day to forget for many of Leganes' back five, but Omeruo was particularly hapless, struggling to pick up Benzema several times and then tripping Modric for the second penalty.

What's next?

Madrid are at home again on Saturday as Real Betis are the visitors. On Sunday, Leganes host fellow strugglers Eibar, as they look to close the gap to the teams above them.

Eden Hazard scored and assisted his first goals for Real Madrid as the LaLiga leaders held on to beat stubborn second-placed opponents Granada 4-2 to extend their lead at the summit. 

The Belgium international lifted the ball over Rui Silva to get off the mark in his sixth match for the club, doubling the hosts' tally after Karim Benzema's early opener in Saturday's top-of-the-table clash at the Santiago Bernabeu. 

Substitute Luka Modric added another from range for Madrid but surprise package Granada pulled one back from the spot after Alphonse Areola gave away a penalty, then Domingos Duarte set up a tense finale with his close-range finish. 

But Zinedine Zidane's men saw out their first win in three matches, James Rodriguez striking in added time, to move four points clear of Granada and city rivals Atletico Madrid, who have a game in hand to play. 

February 2018, Gareth Bale tore up Real Madrid's left flank and played an inch-perfect cross into the centre for Karim Benzema to further embarrass Real Sociedad and surely wrap up a 6-2 mauling at the Santiago Bernabeu.

But Benzema remarkably sliced his first-time effort over the crossbar from about seven yards when it appeared impossible to miss – Madrid's fans held up their infamous reputation and rained a torrent of jeers down on the much-maligned Frenchman.

It had become par for the course with Benzema, who was relentlessly whistled by his own supporters through the 2017-18 campaign. But this time Cristiano Ronaldo took a stand, wagging his finger disapprovingly at those responsible before seeming to sarcastically applaud the fans behind 'Gol Sur'.

Benzema's relationship with Los Blancos fans had already been strained for a long time, with criticism morphing into boos, jeers and whistles in 2013, while the striker spoke publicly of his confusion around the situation in 2017.

"The hardest part is when the criticism comes from your own fans. They are normally there to boost you," he said to Canal Plus, revealing his bafflement.

Benz on the brink

The flak reached its zenith during the 2017-18 season.

Benzema scored just five times in 32 LaLiga matches, converting 7.94 per cent of his chances and averaging a goal every 431.2 minutes. Though there was the caveat of a solid haul of 10 assists, it was an extremely challenging year for the forward.

Benzema could hardly suggest it was a momentary blip either, as 11 goals from 29 matches the previous season was similarly underwhelming.

Such form looked set to cost Benzema dear, as he appeared destined to leave in 2018. That horror miss against La Real was followed by strong transfer rumours a couple of weeks later, with the Chinese Super League or a return to France apparently beckoning.

What goal problem?

Coach Zinedine Zidane never passed up the chance to defend Benzema during those dark days, and one has to assume the striker would have left several years ago were the former 'Galactico' not fighting his corner.

Quite simply, Zidane 'gets' Benzema.

"I don't agree with the criticism. What interests me is not just his goals. I like what Karim does for the team, he's one of the best in this regard, and in the team game - I value that a lot. I'm going to defend Benzema to death," Zidane said ahead of the 2017 Club World Cup final.

After all, during those two onerous campaigns, Benzema recorded 18 assists across all competitions – add that figure to his 31 goals, then he had 49 goal involvements in 95 matches.

"You had a rocket [Bale] and a goalscorer [Ronaldo], and then there was me, the piece that made it all work," Benzema explained to RMC earlier this month, seemingly a too-nuanced point for Madrid's band of rowdy revilers.

"Friendship is everything. Friendship is more than talent"

The coach and player relationship is by no means one-way here, either. Benzema's regard for Zidane is well-known and surely a major contributor for the coach's success and the striker's renaissance.

"I have already said it before, but Zidane is like a godfather to me," Benzema commented three years ago.

While's Benzema's resurgence began during the final two months of Santiago Solari's ill-fated reign, there's little doubt Zidane's faith and understanding of the forward ensured he remained influential even after the former Ballon d'Or winner briefly called it quits last year.

Only Sergio Ramos (1,200 minutes) played with greater regularity than Benzema (1,092 minutes) under Julen Lopetegui, while he featured for 2,424 minutes for Solari, 233 more than anyone else. Whether he'd have remained if Ronaldo stayed is another matter, however.

Karim of the crop

There's no greater indication of Benzema's resurgence than the fact only Lionel Messi has scored more LaLiga goals than him in 2019 – the Barcelona star is on 21, the Lyon academy product has 20.

The most recent of those was particularly well timed, as Benzema got the winner in Sunday's 1-0 win at Sevilla – who were unbeaten and had designs on going top of LaLiga – with a smart header after a clever bit of movement.

Previous results had put Zidane under pressure – with the ever-present spectre of Jose Mourinho lurking, waiting for an invitation to return – but Benzema was there to spare his friend.

As such, Benzema heads into Saturday's derby against Atletico Madrid with five goals – his total for 2017-18 – in as many LaLiga outings this term.

In the post-Ronaldo era, Benzema has stepped up to become Madrid's talisman. The only jeers he attracts now are those from fearful fans of Los Blancos' opposition.

Real Madrid responded to their humbling Champions League loss at the hands of Paris Saint-Germain by winning 1-0 against Sevilla thanks to Karim Benzema's second-half header.

Los Blancos had won just two of their first five games in all competitions and the 3-0 defeat in the French capital in midweek had raised further questions about head coach Zinedine Zidane's long-term future.

However, they got back to winning ways in a drab LaLiga contest in Seville as Benzema nodded home the game's only goal in the second half.

Madrid, who moved onto 11 points - level with leaders Athletic Bilbao - also kept their first clean sheet of the campaign as Sevilla failed to register a shot on target across the 90 minutes.

Sevilla came into the weekend top of the table but they struggled to emulate their early-season form in a forgettable first half.

Madrid at least managed to test the opposition's goalkeeper as Eden Hazard and then Dani Carvajal forced Tomas Vaclik into stops.

Hazard, still searching for his first Madrid goal, looked to squeeze an attempt inside the near post but was stopped by the arm of Vaclik, who then used his right foot to thwart Carvajal after the full-back had broken through down the middle of the pitch.

Neither side took control of the game in the early stages of the second half but Madrid made the breakthrough in the 64th minute through Benzema.

Gareth Bale fed Carvajal on the right and his cross from the byline was nodded in by Benzema after he had peeled off Diego Carlos to find space.

Former Madrid boss Julen Lopetegui responded by bringing on ex-Los Blancos striker Javier Hernandez for Sevilla five minutes later but he was unable to find a leveller, with Luuk de Jong heading wide from their only real opening.

Hernandez thought he had scored with three minutes remaining, but he was correctly adjudged offside when turning home a cross, while Bale fired into the side-netting at the other end in stoppage time.

Eden Hazard is ready to start Wednesday's Champions League clash against Paris Saint-Germain, according to Real Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane.

The Belgium international, who joined Madrid from Chelsea in June, has only recently returned to training following a thigh injury and made his debut in Saturday's LaLiga victory over Levante as a second-half substitute.

The Spanish giants kick off their campaign to win a 14th Champions League title at PSG and Zidane is confident Hazard will feature from the start.

"You will see how we're going to play tomorrow, but Hazard is ready to play and ready to start," he told a media conference. "We've had some good training sessions recently and he's ready."

Zidane was quick to praise French striker Karim Benzema following PSG boss Thomas Tuchel's assertion that he is "fantastic and undervalued".

"It hasn't been easy for him but he's always showed the kind of player he is," he added. "He's a goalscorer but that's not the most important thing in football.

"He's a team player and that's what I like the most. I think he's fantastic, just like Tuchel said. I think the same way."

James Rodriguez played the full 90 minutes of the weekend win over Levante, teeing up Benzema for Los Blancos' second goal.

Zidane would not be drawn on whether he would start against the Ligue 1 champions, but he did praise the Colombia international's versatility.

"We'll see, because he can play everywhere, but it's true that it is easier for him to play up front," he said. "It's important for him to be in good form and he is. His position on the field can change because he is a quality player."

Madrid and PSG are red-hot favourites to progress from Group A, which also includes Club Brugge and Galatasaray, with Zidane suggesting the French champions have enough quality to go all the way.

"PSG is also a favourite in the Champions League because they are a great team," he said. "They are always dangerous although sometimes they do not get the expected results.

"But it is a team that is dangerous, which they show every weekend. With [Edinson] Cavani, [Kylian] Mbappe and Neymar they are better, but they are a team that is at a very high level even without those three."

Raphael Varane sees Real Madrid team-mate Karim Benzema as an inspiration due to his longevity at the very top.

Benzema, 31, joined Madrid in 2009 and has gone on to carve out a fine career at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Arguably the most impressive aspect of Benzema's Madrid career has been his ability to rediscover his best form after struggling in the 2016-17 and 2017-18 campaigns, scoring only 16 goals across 61 matches.

Last term he found the net 21 times and he has started the new campaign in solid fashion as well, scoring four goals in as many games, including a brace in Saturday's 3-2 win over Levante.

The Lyon academy product has seemingly established himself as one of the world's elite strikers once again and Varane looks up to him for having such a prolonged career at the top.

Speaking ahead of the release of his Amazon Prime documentary, Varane said: "We [Varane and Benzema] have a good relationship. When I arrived in Madrid, there were two Frenchmen, him and Lassana Diarra.

"We have known each other for eight years now. We've had great moments together. We talk a lot. We talk a lot about football, in good and bad times.

"We have a very good relationship. He has more experience than me, so he can have a role of giving advice on how to approach things at the highest level and how to last that level because he's been at Madrid a while and his longevity is exceptional."

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane said Eden Hazard was still some way short of being match fit after a low-key debut in Saturday's victory over Levante.

Hazard made a subdued start to his Madrid career with an appearance as a second-half substitute in a 3-2 win against Levante at the Bernabeu.

The Belgium international, who joined Madrid from Chelsea in June, has only recently returned to training following a thigh injury.

Hazard showed a few nice touches after he came off the bench in the 60th minute, although the 28-year-old forward was far from his sparkling best.

"When he touches the ball he has a lot of versatility," Zidane said.

"But what he needs now is to train more. He has only done four workouts with the team.

"The second half was more complicated for us, especially at the beginning. When the opponent scores a goal after three minutes it is difficult.

"But we got three points. We must not look for excuses, the important thing is to keep the first part of the game and play more minutes as the first part. We can improve a lot, we have to play better."

Real seemed to be cruising victory against Levante after two goals from Karim Benzema and one from Casemiro put them 3-0 up at half-time.

However, Borja Mayoral, on loan at Levante from Madrid, and Gonzalo Melero reduced the deficit.

Madrid’s defensive shakiness almost allowed Levante to take a point and the capital giants have yet to keep a clean sheet this season.

Zidane was full of praise for Benzema, who took his tally to four goals in four LaLiga matches, but acknowledged the need for an improvement from his struggling backline.

"What I can say about Benzema is keep it up," Zidane added. "We are very happy to see Benzema like this. We have seen Karim's ovation from the supporters.

"The defence? It doesn't worry me, although we have to improve and we are going to do it.

"Physically, maybe, the international break could be noticed but I don't want to look for excuses.

"I know we are going to score more goals and concede less."

Eden Hazard helped lift the growing gloom around Zinedine Zidane's Real Madrid as he made his long-awaited debut in a 3-2 LaLiga win at home to Levante on Saturday.

Amid driving rain in the Spanish capital - Hazard must have thought he would play in better conditions after leaving London - he made a bright half-hour cameo from the bench.

A thigh injury delayed the Belgium star's debut but after skipping international duty during the break he was finally able to pull on the famous white shirt he has so long desired.

But as Paco Lopez's side battled back from 3-0 down at the break to almost snatch a point, Thibaut Courtois making a fine save to keep out Ruben Vezo's stoppage-time header, it is clear Hazard will not be able to fix all Madrid's problems on his own.

Hazard certainly adds variety to their attacking options. Zidane initially fielded him in a free role ostensibly operating on the left, his favoured position for club and country, filling the void where Cristiano Ronaldo thrived for so long before joining Serie A giants Juventus last year.

That meant the effervescent Vinicius Jr swapped wings and played on the right, with Lucas Vazquez - one of Zidane's favourites - switching inside to a more central role than his usual position on the flank. Hazard did occasionally pop up on the right and also in a more classic number 10 role, so it appears Zidane is going to give the Belgium star plenty of freedom to run his side's attacks.

Hazard replaced Casemiro - the Brazil midfielder having scored the third goal - even though Los Blancos were being dominated in the second half, ex-Madrid striker Borja Mayoral having cut the deficit to 3-1. Toni Kroos therefore dropped back into the shielding role in front of defence and Zidane still has to fit Ballon d'Or winner Luka Modric back in after he was ruled out by injury.

Victory was set up by Karim Benzema, who scored twice in the first half to help build Madrid's commanding lead. At 2-0, he had scored nine of Madrid's past 11 LaLiga goals at home, while his tally in the league since the start of the year stands at an impressive 19.

Benzema has often been under-rated by fans and pundits during his time at the Bernabeu, but not by Zidane. Other coaches have failed to fully appreciate his understanding of the game and ability to bring others into play, which will be crucial if Hazard is to shine. 

A perfect example of his all-round skills was provided by Madrid's second goal, with Benzema linking up perfectly with James Rodriguez before slotting a low finish past Aitor Fernandez. Benzema would have had the matchball to show for his efforts had the woodwork not denied him, the crowd later giving him a rousing reception when he was replaced by Luka Jovic.

It was arguably telling that although Hazard, Jovic and Eder Militao all came off the bench, Zidane's starting XI - as long as you include James, who spent the past two years on loan at Bayern Munich - did not include any of the new signings provided by Florentino Perez.

Cracks have already reportedly begun to show in the relationship between Zidane and Perez, who failed to deliver Paul Pogba for his coach, so this was a welcome win, albeit by a far narrower margin that Madrid's vibrant first-half display deserved.

Zidane had made it clear the World Cup winner was a key target, adding mobility and drive to a central midfield department that has grown stale, but Pogba could not be prised away from Manchester United despite telling reporters he was ready for a new challenge.

Hazard will instead be relied on to provide Galactico stardust, but he will hope to have a greater impact than the time-wasting job he carried out in the latter stages as Madrid clung on.

Zidane and Madrid could celebrate a much-needed win after successive LaLiga draws, though, ahead of Wednesday's Champions League trip to Paris Saint-Germain, where Hazard will surely make his first start.

Eden Hazard made his Real Madrid debut as they claimed a nervy 3-2 victory over Levante in LaLiga thanks to two goals from Karim Benzema.

A brace from Benzema, plus a goal from Casemiro, ensured Madrid were firmly in control when 3-0 ahead at the break before a second-half fightback from the visitors.

Borja Mayoral, on loan at Levante from Madrid, pulled a goal back and the home team conceded again when Gonzalo Melero headed in from a corner, with Thibaut Courtois preserving their lead with a fine save in the closing minutes.

Hazard, who joined from Chelsea, was given a warm welcome when introduced on the hour, the Belgium forward having missed his new club's opening three games of the season with a muscle injury.

Cristiano Ronaldo made his first competitive appearance for Real Madrid 10 years ago in a 3-2 LaLiga victory against Deportivo La Coruna.

The Portugal forward reached superstar status after being made the world's most expensive player at the time when joining Madrid from Manchester United for a reported €94million.

He went on to become the club's all-time leading scorer and won 15 trophies, including four Champions League crowns and two LaLiga titles, before leaving for Juventus in 2018.

To mark the decade anniversary since it all began for Ronaldo at Madrid, we look back at their team from that day and where they all are 10 years on.

Goalkeeper: Iker Casillas

Synonymous with the number one shirt at Real Madrid and widely considered one of the greatest goalkeepers of all time, Casillas brought an end to his 25-year spell at the Santiago Bernabeu in 2015 by joining Porto. The veteran suffered a heart attack during a training session in May and doubts remain over his future in the game, with an administrative role at Porto likely if he retires.

Right-back: Alvaro Arbeloa

Arbeloa returned to Madrid for a second spell at the club the month after Ronaldo joined and he became a regular at the back for several years before joining West Ham in 2016. The World Cup-winning defender retired after one season at West Ham. He has lived a somewhat low-key retirement, but did briefly coach Mambo FC in 2018, a team formed of freestyle footballers from YouTube.

Centre-back: Ezequiel Garay

Garay's Real Madrid career never managed to take off and he was sold to Benfica in 2011 after falling down the pecking order. He moved to Zenit St Petersburg three years later and is now back in the Spanish top flight with Valencia, where he has featured regularly over the past three seasons.

Hay que seguir luchando,no hay otro camino,los resultados positivos seguro que van a llegar,gracias a la afición por el apoyo de siempre #G24 #amuntvalencia pic.twitter.com/Wo7PVLl97z

— Ezequiel Garay (@Garay_24) February 17, 2019

Centre-back: Raul Albiol

Another player signed the year Ronaldo arrived, Albiol was snapped up from LaLiga counterparts Valencia and played 43 matches in all competitions in his debut campaign. He left for Napoli in 2013 after seeing his playing time gradually reduce, spending six seasons there before returning to Spain with Villarreal in July.

Left-back: Marcelo

One of only two players from this side still at Madrid, Marcelo is now into his 14th season at the club and has been a regular in most of those campaigns. Despite strong links with a move to Juve earlier this year, Marcelo remained at the Santiago Bernabeu and has started both league matches this term.

 

https://t.co/ZW98dzRll2

— Marcelotwelve (@MarceloM12) July 28, 2019

Central midfielder: Lassana Diarra

Diarra made a positive start to his Los Blancos career and later featured 17 times in their title-winning season of 2011-12, but the Frenchman moved to Anzhi Makhachkala in 2012 after playing time decreased. He then spent time with Lokomotiv Moscow, Marseille and Al Jazira, before a surprise move to Paris Saint-Germain in January 2018. He retired in February, though he was an unused substitute once for Belgian side Sporting Charleroi in March.

Central midfielder: Xabi Alonso

Alonso was signed from Liverpool and became the linchpin of Madrid's midfield for five years, winning five major honours, including the Champions League in 2014. He then linked up with Pep Guardiola at Bayern Munich, before bowing out on a high in 2017 after adding five more trophies to his collection. He has since moved into coaching, taking charge of boyhood club Real Sociedad's 'B' team.

Attacking midfielder: Kaka

Kaka arrived at Madrid in June 2009 as a one-time Ballon d'Or winner and was the most expensive player in the world for all of a month, a record that was taken from him by Ronaldo. The Brazilian struggled under Jose Mourinho and returned to AC Milan four years later, with Gareth Bale's arrival pushing him further out of the picture. He was unable to match his previous heights in San Siro and saw out his career in Major League Soccer with Orlando City. Rumours of a return with Silvio Berlusconi-backed Monza failed to materialise.

Forward: Cristiano Ronaldo

Ronaldo got off the mark in his first outing for Madrid with a penalty. The five-time Ballon d'Or winner went on to add a further 450 goals, becoming Madrid's all-time leading goal-scorer. If last year's switch to Juve was surprising, his form for the Old Lady was anything but. He was crowned Serie A's Player of the Year in his debut campaign after guiding Juve to an eighth straight Scudetto with his 21 goals in the league.

Forward: Raul

Club icon Raul was into the latter stages of his Madrid career when Ronaldo arrived, spending just one season alongside him. Ronaldo was handed Raul's number seven shirt when the Spaniard left for Schalke 04 in 2010 and many of his goalscoring records have since fallen to arguably the club's greatest ever player. Raul spent a combined five years with Schalke, Al Sadd and New York Cosmos before moving into coaching with Real Madrid's age-grade and reserve sides.

Forward: Karim Benzema

The other member of this team still at the Santiago Bernabeu, Benzema has managed to see off a succession of strikers to remain Los Blancos' go-to man up top. The Frenchman joined the same year as Ronaldo and formed an impressive partnership with his attacking colleague. He is sixth on the club's list of all-time leading scorers with 224 goals, but is still a long way short of Ronaldo's record.

Substitute: Esteban Granero

Granero started his career with Madrid and returned in 2009 following a spell with neighbours Getafe. He never became first-choice and is now at Espanyol, having also played for QPR and Real Sociedad.

Substitute: Gonzalo Higuain

The Argentine striker was prolific for Madrid and Napoli between 2007 and 2016, before controversially swapping Naples for Turin. After unsuccessful loan spells with AC Milan and Chelsea, he is back with the Old Lady under Maurizio Sarri.

Substitute: Guti

Guti spent 15 years with Madrid and is renowned as one of the most talented players to have come through their academy. He left in 2010 and spent the final year of his career with Besiktas and is now part of their coaching staff, having also previously worked behind the scenes with Madrid.

Karim Benzema is the first French player to score 150 goals in LaLiga.

Real Madrid were held to a 1-1 draw at home to Real Valladolid on Saturday, though Benzema was at least given a reason to crack a smile for his individual feat.

The former Lyon man netted a fine opener on the turn in the 82nd minute, finding the bottom-right corner from 18 yards.

However, it was ultimately not enough for the three points, as Sergi Guardiola converted just before the end to seal a shock draw for Valladolid.

Benzema has taken 10 years to reach the 150 milestone, but for a while it looked like he may never get near that number.

The striker's poor form in 2017-18 had his future at the club in doubt, but he bounced back last term with 21 goals in LaLiga, a figure he has only exceeded once in his career.

His effort on Saturday got him off the mark for the new season, making him only the seventh player to reach 150 goals for Madrid in Spain's top flight.

Real Madrid were held to a 1-1 draw by Real Valladolid in their first home game of the season on Saturday.

Karim Benzema's precise strike with eight minutes to play looked enough to earn Zinedine Zidane's side a second win from two LaLiga matches in 2019-20, only for Sergi Guardiola to level late on.

Madrid started their first home game of the season with none of their new signings in the first XI, as Zidane put faith in Gareth Bale, James Rodriguez and Isco despite weeks of speculation over their futures.

It was Bale who looked likeliest to break the deadlock in the first half, prodding a first-time effort just wide of the left-hand post and sending a header over the crossbar.

James also twice came close with a good strike and a header, but Valladolid goalkeeper Jordi Masip was left relatively untroubled despite Madrid's dominance.

Luka Jovic was sent on from the bench for his home debut and struck the crossbar with a header from Bale's cross - his first touch of the game.

Waldo Rubio was denied by Thibaut Courtois while Guardiola just failed to turn in a cross on the break, and Benzema's sharp turn and finish from 18 yards out - his 150th LaLiga goal - looked to have punished those misses.

That was until the 88th minute, when Guardiola raced into space behind Raphael Varane and prodded the ball through the legs of Courtois.


What does it mean? Madrid need Hazard fit - and soon

For all their dominance, Madrid found it very difficult to pick their way through the Valladolid lines and only managed four shots on target throughout, including Benzema's superb strike.

It was the kind of game where Eden Hazard's dribbling was needed to unlock the defence. Zidane will hope he is fit again quickly.

Kroos class not enough

Toni Kroos completed all 53 of his first-half passes and created a game-high five chances, but his meticulous use of the ball was not matched by those around him.

Vinicius ineffective

With Hazard unavailable, Zidane brought on Vinicius Junior to try to unbalance the Valladolid defence, but the Brazil winger offered little end product to some determined runs.

What's next?

Madrid head to Villarreal next Sunday, the day after Valladolid travel to Levante.

Real Madrid were held to a 1-1 draw by Real Valladolid in their first home game of the season on Saturday.

Karim Benzema's precise strike with eight minutes to play looked enough to earn Zinedine Zidane's side a second win from two LaLiga matches in 2019-20, only for Sergi Guardiola to level late on.

Madrid started their first home game of the season with none of their new signings in the first XI, as Zidane put faith in Gareth Bale, James Rodriguez and Isco despite weeks of speculation over their futures.

It was Bale who looked likeliest to break the deadlock in the first half, prodding a first-time effort just wide of the left-hand post and sending a header over the crossbar.

James also twice came close with a good strike and a header, but Valladolid goalkeeper Jordi Masip was left relatively untroubled despite Madrid's dominance.

Luka Jovic was sent on from the bench for his home debut and struck the crossbar with a header from Bale's cross - his first touch of the game.

Waldo Rubio was denied by Thibaut Courtois while Guardiola just failed to turn in a cross on the break, and Benzema's sharp turn and finish from 18 yards out looked to have punished those misses.

That was until the 88th minute, when Guardiola raced into space behind Raphael Varane and prodded the ball through the legs of Courtois.

 

Karim Benzema scored a hat-trick as Real Madrid earned a rare pre-season win, beating Fenerbahce 5-3 in the Audi Cup, but defensive problems continue to dog Zinedine Zidane's side.

After conceding 12 goals in three games at the International Champions Cup, Madrid lost 1-0 to Tottenham on Tuesday and went into their clash with Fenerbahce needing a morale-boosting clean sheet.

That went out of the window within six minutes of a game that, while entertaining, covered neither side's defenders in glory.

Zidane has two more friendlies to address those rearguard issues before Madrid's LaLiga opener against Celta Vigo on August 17, and he will hope Benzema can continue his good form against Red Bull Salzburg and Roma.

Garry Rodrigues shrugged off the challenge of Raphael Varane to give himself time and space on the edge of the box to fire off a shot that Keylor Navas got a hand to but failed to keep from squirming under his body as Zidane's men fell behind.

Ozan Tufan drew a diving save from Navas moments later with a 30-yard piledriver before some sloppy Fenerbahce defending allowed Vinicius Junior's cross to reach Benzema, who coolly placed a low finish into the corner of the net.

Benzema struck again when Toni Kroos floated a free-kick into the mixer that sat up nicely for the Madrid striker to arrow a fierce header beyond Altay Bayindir in a manner that will have delighted Zidane.

But Nabil Dirar levelled matters when his shot ricocheted through the legs of Alvaro Odriozola and bounced up over Navas and into the gaping net to make it 2-2 at half-time.

Lucas Vazquez scampered down the right flank eight minutes into the second half and crossed to the unmarked Benzema who completed his hat-trick with a free downward header.

But Madrid's defence remained slow-footed and nobody challenged Tufan as he unleashed a swerving 25-yard drive that Andriy Lunin - on as a second-half substitute - got a firm hand to as it flashed into the net.

Play continued to swing from end to end and Nacho restored Madrid's lead, slamming home the rebound after Mariano Diaz's smart effort was only parried by Bayindir, who later palmed Vazquez's cross-cum-shot into the path of Mariano to ram home Madrid's fifth.

Eden Hazard made his Real Madrid debut as the LaLiga giants were beaten 3-1 by Bayern Munich at the International Champions Cup in Houston.

Hazard wore the Madrid jersey for the first time since his big-money move from Chelsea, while fellow recruits Luka Jovic, Ferland Mendy and Rodrygo Goes also made their bows for Zinedine Zidane's side.

But Corentin Tolisso, Robert Lewandowski and Serge Gnabry stole the show as Bayern put Madrid to the sword in the second half, which saw Zidane make 11 changes at the interval.

Tolisso opened the scoring in the 15th minute and Bayern completely dominated in the second half, with substitutes Lewandowski and Gnabry condemning Madrid to defeat in their ICC opener on Saturday.

Madrid did have something to celebrate when Rodrygo capped his debut with a stunning 84th-minute free-kick after Sven Ulreich was sent off for bringing down the former Santos youngster.

Gareth Bale was left out of the Madrid squad amid ongoing uncertainty over his future, with the Welshman linked to Bayern. While there was no room for Bale, Jovic, Rodrygo and Mendy were on the bench.

It was an entertaining and end-to-end first half, with Bayern's Manuel Neuer the busier of the two goalkeepers at NRG Stadium.

After Neuer managed to make a goal-line save to deny Karim Benzema in the 11th minute, Bayern broke the deadlock four minutes later via Tolisso.

A low cross from Kingsley Coman found a way through to Tolisso, whose initial shot was stopped on the line by Thibaut Courtois, but the Frenchman made no mistake with the rebound.

Madrid huffed and puffed in search of an equaliser – Benzema, who failed to capitalise on a pair of consecutive close-range chances, in the thick of the action but unable to put the ball over the line.

Sergio Ramos, Luka Modric and Hazard also had opportunities for Madrid prior to half-time, however, Bayern managed to preserve their advantage.

Madrid controlled possession early in the second half but Bayern were a threat in attack and the German giants sent a warning when an unmarked Thiago Alcantara drove into the box, however he was unable to direct Coman's cross on target approaching the hour mark.

That warning went unheeded as centre-back Niklas Sule picked out Lewandowski with a ball over Madrid's defence in the 67th minute and the Polish striker produced a stunning piece of skill to control it before turning and finishing into the bottom corner.

Gnabry completed the rout two minutes later when the German found himself unmarked in the area and he had time to take a touch and fire a half-volley past Keylor Navas.

Bayern ended the match with 10 men after Ulreich was red carded for a foul on Rodrygo outside the area in the 81st minute following Joshua Kimmich's sloppy back-pass and the Madrid signing converted his own free-kick to pull a goal back.

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