Benzema begins to justify Zidane’s confidence

Rarely has a win over APOEL Nicosia been celebrated so vividly. Going into their Champions League encounter with the Cypriots on Tuesday night, Real Madrid needed to rediscover a sense of joy on the pitch. Six goals later, they, and Karim Benzema in particular, found it.

The result is a particular boon for Cristiano Ronaldo and strike colleague Benzema, with both overcoming difficult recent form to score two goals. The performance will do wonders for their confidence whilst reminding everybody that their predatory instincts haven’t faded just yet.

Benzema and Ronaldo return to Madrid swollen with goals and a newfound swagger. The Portuguese star has now plundered 17 goals in his last 10 Champions League matches, making him the competition’s current and historical top scorer, even if he has so far struggled to replicate that form in LaLiga.

Now, the club must translate this form into their domestic fixtures. Madrid fans will be hoping that Ronaldo’s brace will help him shed the anxiety of his league performances, while Benzema will also be keen to retain his place in the starting line-up.

Zinedine Zidane must have been encouraged at the green shoots of recovery.During the match on Tuesday night, his team showed glimpses of the fluency that characterised their play at the start of the season, toying with their opponents as secured passage to the next round.