The French striker starred against Eibar as he helped his side to their fifth consecutive victory
Karim Benzema is playing “on a different level” after helping Real Madrid to another win, coach Zinedine Zidane said.
Benzema scored and provided two assists as Madrid made it five straight wins in all competitions by beating Eibar 3-1 in La Liga on Sunday.
It was the 30th time the Frenchman has scored and assisted in the same La Liga game. Only Cristiano Ronaldo (44) has done it more often for Madrid in the 21st century.
Benzema’s form was lauded by Zidane as Madrid joined first-place Atletico on 29 points, although Diego Simeone’s men have played two fewer games.
“Benzema is a match winner because what he’s doing is on a different level, not just because of the goals,” Zidane told a press conference.
“I always repeat myself saying the same thing about Karim. It’s not only his goals, he’s a focal point in our game. He’s very important for us and when he scores, it’s even better, obviously, but he’s very important for our team.
“We have to highlight everyone’s performance. It was a great game today and it was a great performance from both teams. It’s a well-deserved victory.”
Benzema set up Luka Modric to make it 2-0 before Kike pulled a goal back for Eibar, who felt they should have had a late penalty for a handball by Sergio Ramos.
Zidane refused to be drawn on the decision, with Madrid sealing their win through Lucas Vazquez in additional time.
“I didn’t see the handball incident with Ramos. But the referee is the one who decides,” Zidane said. “He knows what he is doing and I’m not going to start talking about the referees. If he decided not to give a penalty it’s because he didn’t think it was a handball.”
Madrid’s busy run of fixtures continues with a home clash against Granada on Wednesday. Zidane hinted he could rotate his squad for the game, Madrid’s third in the span of eight days.
“At the moment this is how we’re playing,” he added. “Will there be changes? Yes, there will be changes, for sure, because it’s a very long and difficult season.
“We rotate a little less now, but the important thing is that the players are performing and everyone will play their part. We’ve not changed much in the last few matches, but at the moment that’s the way it is, these things change and we’ve got to all keep working together.”