Cristiano Ronaldo praised for selfless gesture to embattled Karim Benzema

  • Cristiano Ronaldo praised for selfless gesture to embattled Karim Benzema

Cristiano Ronaldo praised for selfless gesture to embattled Karim Benzema

Benzema's pass with his heel set up Ronaldo to drive in his first goal in the 44th.

Real are third in the standings on 51 points, 11 behind leaders Barcelona and four from Atletico, who can widen the gap back to seven when they visit Sevilla on Sunday.

Five-times world player of the year Ronaldo has not always had a reputation for humility but goalkeeper Keylor Navas said the Portuguese's treatment of Benzema was befitting of his character.

The much-maligned Frenchman also had a hand in Madrid's second goal, teeing to Gareth Bale after Alaves lost the ball nearly directly from the kick off.

Ronaldo found the breakthrough a minute before half-time, and less than two minutes after the break Gareth Bale doubled the lead, with both goals assisted by Karim Benzema. The hosts won their 5th consecutive game in all competitions - the first time they've achieved that this season - and their 4th consecutive game in La Liga -the second time they've achieved that this season.

While nobody doubts the importance of Ronaldo for Madrid, Benzema and Bale have disappointed this season.

But coach Zinedine Zidane has stuck by Benzema and Bale in an unpredictable season.

The red-hot forward was then seemingly presented with the opportunity to score his 13th goal in just over a month - and complete yet another treble - when Bale was brought down in the area late on.

When asked if this meant the trio of Ronaldo-Bale-Benzema was back to playing at its best, Zidane replied that it had never been missing.

"But at the moment we have more of the consistency that we want in our play, our focus".

"Benzema plays under a lot of pressure but he handles it very well, and I'm delighted with how he played and that he scored".

And the Frenchman took full advantage by slotting into the left corner to earn him a goal his performance deserved.

Iago Aspas and Maxi Gomez, meanwhile, combined to condemn Eibar to back-to-back La Liga defeats as Celta Vigo eased themselves into seventh place in the table with a 2-0 win.

Relegation-threatened Las Palmas scraped a point from drawing with Leganes 0-0 to inch its way toward safety.