Karim Benzema sensationally made it back-to-back Champions League hat-tricks as Real Madrid won 3-1 at Chelsea in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final.
Benzema’s treble saw Madrid remarkably defeat Paris Saint-Germain in the previous round and he was back at his brilliant best at Stamford Bridge.
The 34-year-old applied the perfect combination of power and direction to Vinicius Junior’s cross to beat Edouard Mendy in the 21st minute, before ghosting between Thiago Silva and Andreas Christensen to deftly guide Luka Modric’s centre into the corner.
Kai Havertz converted Jorginho’s cross five minutes before half-time to reduce the arrears but a dreadful Mendy error within a minute of the restart left Benzema with a simple job to claim the matchball. Chelsea were the better side from that point but were unable to reduce the deficit, with substitute Romelu Lukaku particularly culpable.
Vinicius served an early warning of Madrid’s intentions. Benzema was inevitably involved, backheeling to Federico Valverde who recycled possession for the Brazil winger to cut inside Christensen and clatter the crossbar.
Christensen was eventually substituted at half-time after enduring a torrid time and Vinicius darted away from him onto a Benzema pass to create the opener.
Benzema still had lots to do but somehow planted a head high into the net from 16 yards. When Modric found him in the 24th minute, he did not need to apply any power at all and cushioned the ball back the way it came into the corner.