La Liga Roundup - Benzema on the verge of stealing goalscoring record away from Messi

It has not been the best of seasons to be a Real Madrid fan, but there have been some highlights for Los Blancos that could make the end of the campaign a bit more bearable for them.

Even if Real Madrid seems destined to end the season in third place, one player has lived up to the expectations following Cristiano Ronaldo's departure, and that's Karim Benzema. The French footballer finally put the debate about the team's need to sign another striker to rest, and he did it with what the fans asked from him: with goals. Without Benzema's contribution, the team would surely be out of UEFA Champions League spots right now, as these numbers will show.

Benzema has scored eight consecutive goals for Real Madrid. Now, the Frenchman needs two more to surpass Messi's standing record of 10. Added to that, scoring for a ninth consecutive game would also see him reach La Liga history, since only three players have been able to score goals in nine consecutive games.

La Liga standings after Matchday 33

There was no change in the top four spots in La Liga, as Barcelona, Atlético, Real Madrid, and Getafe all won their games. With Matchday 34 starting on Thursday, there will be lots to play in the next ten games, including the clash between Getafe and Real Madrid and the classic showdown between Atlético and Valencia, who is the closest team to Getafe in the race to secure a spot in the UEFA Champions League next season.

1 Barcelona 33 +51 77
2 Atlético Madrid 33 +27 68
3 Real Madrid 33 +21 64
4 Getafe 33 +14 54
5 Valencia 33 +10 52
6 Sevilla 33 +12 52
7 Athletic Club 33 -4 46
8 Deportivo Alavés 33 -7 46
9 Real Betis 33 -6 43
10 Espanyol 33 -9 42
11 Real Sociedad 33 -2 41
12 Leganés 33 -5 41
13 Eibar 33 -3 40
14 Villarreal 33 -4 36
15 Celta de Vigo 33 -9 35
16 Girona 33 -12 34
17 Levante 33 -14 34
18 Real Valladolid 33 -19 32
19 Rayo Vallecano 33 -21 28
20 Huesca 33 -20 26

Pichichi race

Neither Lionel Messi nor Luis Suárez scored this weekend, and while the Argentine ace has a comfortable lead at the top of the best scorers' race, Karim Benzema's scintillating performance helped him claim the second place in this department, which will surely make the end of the season more interesting.

Simeone steps up to defend Alvaro Morata after referee incident

Atlético claimed a narrow 1-0 win against Eibar, but the talk of the game had to do with Alvaro Morata. The striker was involved in a heated bust-up with none other than the match referee, Alberola Rojas, who appeared to slap him on the back of the neck. Morata argued for several minutes with the officer until he got a yellow card.

Once the game concluded, coach Diego Simeone stood by his player, remembering a similar incident in which he was handed an eight-match ban for touching the fourth officer: four four touching the ref and four for the red card.

"Morata is angry about what happened, of course. It reminds me of when I got four games for doing that to the fourth official," Simeone said. 

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