Published: Tue, April 23, 2019
Sport | By Kayla Schwartz

Benzema scores hat trick for Madrid in 3-0 win over Athletic

Benzema scores hat trick for Madrid in 3-0 win over Athletic

Karim Benzema hit a hat trick to lead Real Madrid to a 3-0 win over Athletic Bilbao in the Spanish league on Sunday, extending his scoring run since the return of coach Zinedine Zidane. "What he has been doing here over 10 years, means everything".

"I'm delighted with the goals but I know Karim will be more happy with the fact we have won". If I play, then all the better.

"The shame was he had a chance to score and I felt sorry for him because I would have liked him to score today", Zidane said. Out of the Champions League, and trailing Spanish leader Barcelona by 13 points in third place, Madrid's players have nothing to play for other than pride.

Benzema's advance in the absence of Cristiano Ronaldo and surge since the reappointment of Zidane comes in stark contrast to Gareth Bale, who was whistled when introduced as a substitute here and frequently during his 20 minutes on the pitch.

The former Lyon forward has now scored each of Madrid's last eight goals, taking him to 30 in all competitions for 2018-19.

Manchester United are facing a battle with Real Madrid to sign West Ham midfielder Declan Rice this summer, according to a report in England.

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Preserving the harmony of the squad is said to be one of their top priorities this summer and, with so many potential blockbuster signings being lined up, Real want to minimise the impact on the team morale as much as possible.

For his part, Bale shrugged off missing the presentable opportunity by unselfishly teeing up Karim Benzema for his hat-trick but that did not saved him from a mauling by local media on Monday.

They were particularly underwhelming in the first half and Bilbao's Inaki Williams might have scored early in the second had the 22-year-old Jesus Vallejo not made an excellent last-ditch intervention. Asensio crossed for Benzema to head home.

Zidane said he did not understand why the fans behaved like this toward him, especially as they applauded Isco, who came on the field at the same time.

Chelsea are undergoing a odd season under Maurizio Sarri, but Champions League qualification is the minimum requirement. Valencia and Sevilla are two points behind.

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