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Real Madrid roll on thanks to Vinícius and Benzema


Karim Benzema, 22 goals. Vinícius Júnior, 14. Two Real Madrid players at the top of LaLiga’s scoring charts; two players who won the points for Los Blancos at Real Mallorca on Monday. Vinícius grabbed Madrid’s opener from Benzema’s pass, before the Frenchman converted a penalty won by the Brazilian. Benzema then added a third, on this occasion without Vínicius’ involvement, turning home a left-wing cross by late substitute Marcelo with a textbook header. Every time I watch Madrid play, I can’t help wanting to see more from the right winger, be it Rodrygo Goes or Marco Asensio. But, at the end of the day, Benzema's class and Vinícius' ability to make things happen have been enough for Carlo Ancelotti’s men.

Vinícius looks to be over his recent sticky patch

Vinícius has been through a spell where he looked a little lost. Having improved his end product immeasurably under Ancelotti’s guidance, the 21-year-old had been the revelation of the season, but began to get himself caught up in futile spats with defenders and protests towards the referees. Wrong move. Forwards play football, defenders try to stop football from being played. That’s just the way it is. The forward has two crutches to lean on - their skill and the referee. Whichever it is that lets them down, they have no choice but to try, try and try again. Vinícius lost a couple of months while he explored that conflict and now, it seems, he understands. At least, that’s the impression I get.

Benzema continues to perform magnificently for Real Madrid.
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Benzema continues to perform magnificently for Real Madrid.JAIME REINAAFP

Brilliant Benzema

As for Benzema, there’s no conflict to be resolved there. Quite the opposite. All the time he could have wasted, he did so in Cristiano Ronaldo’s shadow, and it wasn’t completely wasted. Now, I’d say, he’s squeezing every last drop out of the time he has left as a player. Despite his advancing years, I hope he has a while left yet. He runs his socks off, gives and goes, drives his team on, steps up with goals. A commanding presence inside the box and out. Thanks to Benzema and Vinícius, Madrid continue to take defences apart and tick the games off the schedule. We’re well into March and, with the Champions League quarter-finals on the horizon, the league leaders are 10 points clear of Sevilla and 15 ahead of Barcelona and Atlético Madrid. For Madrid, this weekend’s Clásico is only a symbolic test.