Karim Benzema scored three goals in seven first-half minutes as Real Madrid thrashed Real Valladolid 6-0 on Sunday to cut Barcelona’s lead in La Liga to 12 points.
The hat-trick moved Benzema up to 14 league goals this season and second on the list of top scorers — three behind Barca’s Robert Lewandowski.
Rodrygo’s opener from a smooth counter-attack after 22 minutes opened the flood gates as Benzema took charge at the Santiago Bernabeu, netting a first half hat-trick for Real Madrid for the first time in his career.
Benzema scored his first with a diving header from a Vinicius Jr cross while narrowly avoiding a collision with the far post and the Brazilian also created the second with a simple pass for the French striker to score from the edge of the box.
The 35-year-old completed his hat-trick when he adjusted his run into the six-yard box to turn on the spot and scoop a Rodrygo cross that was behind him to score while his back was towards goal.
Rodrygo claimed another assist in the second half when Marco Asensio played a one-two pass with the Brazilian forward before firing home and Eden Hazard created the final goal as he pinched the ball from a loose pass and found Lucas Vazquez.
Valladolid, who fell to a second straight LaLiga defeat, are 16th, a point above the relegation zone.
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