Karim Benzema continued to add to Real Madrid’s record books on Thursday, scoring his 323rd goal to tie Raul González for the club’s second-highest scorer after Cristiano Ronaldo.
Karim Benzema scored in the first half of Madrid’s 6-0 thrashing of Levante in the Spanish league, with Madrid having already clinched the title.
The loss confirmed Levante’s relegation after five years in the top flight.
Benzema’s trusted attacking partner all season, Vinicius Junior, scored a hat trick for Madrid as it prepares for the Champions League final against Liverpool on May 28 in Paris, when it will attempt to capture a record-extending 14th European crown.
Benzema is now 128 goals short of Ronaldo’s 451 goals, which he scored while with the club till 2018. Raul, the coach of Real Madrid’s “B” team, was a member of the club during the 1990s and 2000s.
Benzema’s close-range header off a cross by Vinicius in the 19th minute handed the French striker his league-leading 27th goal of the season, nine more than any other player in the competition. So far, he has scored more than a third of Madrid’s 79 league goals.
Benzema has scored 20 goals in the last 15 games in all competitions, including two hat tricks. He has been instrumental in the team’s march to the Champions League final, scoring important goals in every knockout stage of the European tournament.
On Thursday, he had another chance to score but instead chose to feed Vinicius for the team’s fifth goal after clearing the goalkeeper inside the box.
“The connection with Benzema has been really good all season,” added Vinicius, who now has 17 goals and is the league’s third-leading scorer. “Karim has had a fantastic season, and maybe he will be able to cap it off by winning the Ballon d’Or.”
Vinicius scored his first goal in the first half before completing his first hat trick for Real Madrid in the last minutes. Ferland Mendy and Rodrygo both scored before the halfway break.
In the 75th minute, Benzema was substituted by Luka Modric, who had set up three of Madrid’s goals.
On Sunday, Benzema, Modric, Mendy, Vinicius, and goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois did not play in the league derby against city rival Atlético Madrid, which Atlético Madrid won 1-0 at home.
Atlético did not provide a guard of honor for Madrid at the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium, but Levante’s players did on Thursday, standing up along the sideline and applauding Madrid’s players as they entered the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium.
Valencia-based Levante has spent 14 of the last 18 seasons in the first division.
“Unfortunately, this season, we were not equal to the task,” Levante captain José Luis Morales remarked through tears. “We have to apologize and try to restore this team to its rightful place next season.”
Real Madrid’s all-time top scorers
- 1 Cristiano 451
- 2 Raúl 323
- 2 Benzema 323
- 4 Di Stéfano 308
- 5 Santillana 290
- 6 Puskas 242
- 7 Hugo Sánchez 208
- 8 Gento 182
- 9 Pirri 172
- 10 Butragueño 171