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Messi hits full stride, Real Madrid chases after

It was an easy night for Real Madrid, which was convenient after Atlético drew at Alavés (now each draw for a team with title contentions is like a defeat, even if it is away from home) and necessary in light of the Lionel Messi spectacle the day before.

Messi has shaken off his slow start to the season and is back to his best, ready to wipe out whatever opponent is put before him in LaLiga. The Champions League is a different story, where his performances have contrasted with his showing here in Spain. But LaLiga is our daily bread, and now that the Barcelona captain has shifted into top gear, Madrid needs to make the appropriate response.

And that they did yesterday with the five-to-zero against Leganés, who are not the most dangerous team in the league, but they are there. Again, Benzema led the charge from the front. This is a case of a player who appreciates the confidence the club has put in him over the years.

"Benzema has assumed the status of leader of the attack, as is Sergio Ramos at the back"

Benzema leads while Hazard yet to convince

Since Cristiano left, Benzema has taken charge. Unlike the oblivious Gareth Bale (who does not know who the British Prime Minister is and may not know where Cristiano Ronaldo now plays) Benzema has assumed the status of leader of the attack, as is Sergio Ramos at the back.

Meanwhile, with Hazard, it is a still a case of: 'is he or isn’t he?' And the answer to that very much depends on how optimistic you are. For my part, I lined him up with João Félix and Antoine Griezmann as a member of an attacking trio that was expected to shake things up this season, but that hasn’t been the case.

Of course, they haven’t been extreme disappointments but at the same time haven't made much happen either. Hazard can be wielded in defence but on Wednesday night he committed seven fouls, which is too many. We will just have to continue to wait and see with him.

Meanwhile, Luka Jovic finally scored (twice, but the first one was voided) and Rodrygo continues to improve. But with Messi now in full stride, it is hard to see this Madrid team winning LaLiga.