Karim Benzema delivered a sensational performance as Real Madrid beat Cadiz 3-0 to move top of LaLiga.
Madrid president Florentino Perez was perhaps in need of a distraction after spearheading widely condemned plans for a proposed – and now suspended – European Super League in recent days.
Zinedine Zidane refused to comment on the issue during his pre-match news conference and, though Madrid’s off-pitch troubles look set to rumble on, they were superb on the field on Wednesday.
Benzema starred, scoring twice in the first half either side of Alvaro Odriozola’s header to secure a convincing win which sees Los Blancos leapfrog would-be Super League rivals Atletico Madrid.
Perhaps inspired by Leeds United’s act of defiance before Monday’s Premier League clash with Liverpool, Cadiz’s players wore t-shirts protesting the premise of a Super League prior to kick-off.
Yet Madrid hardly seemed affected, and their quality told in the 30th minute.
Referee Antonio Miguel Mateu Lahoz initially failed to spot Isaac Carcelen’s foul on Vinicius Junior, but changed his decision after consulting with VAR, and Benzema buried the resulting penalty before turning provider for Madrid’s second goal when he crossed for Odriozola to head in.
Benzema should have had his second assist when he cushioned a header down for Casemiro, only for the midfielder to blaze over.
However, Benzema made no such mistake when Casemiro returned the favour with a delicate cross – the Frenchman glancing a deft header into the left-hand corner.
Anthony Lozano, who scored in the reverse fixture, should have pulled one back for Cadiz before the hour, but headed wide from three yards out.
Benzema’s sublime flick through to Marcelo almost crafted another Madrid goal, but the visitors settled for three as Zidane claimed a win which means he has now beaten all 28 LaLiga teams he has faced as Madrid boss.