Madrid: Karim Benzema scored a hat trick in a seven-minute span as second-place Real Madrid crushed Valladolid 6-0 in the Spanish league on Sunday.
Rodrygo, Marco Asensio and Lucas Vázquez also scored for second-place Madrid, which now trails leader Barcelona by 12 points after the Catalan club won at last-place Elche on Saturday.
Madrid increased its gap to third-place Atletico Madrid to eight points. Atletico hosts fifth-place Real Betis later Sunday.
Coach Carlo Ancelotti used Benzema and several other regular starters despite Madrid's upcoming match against Barcelona in the semifinals of the Copa del Rey at the Camp Nou Stadium on Wednesday. Madrid lost the first leg 1-0 at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium.
Benzema, who hadn’t scored in the league since February, netted his first goal with a close-range header after a cross by Vinícius Júnior in the 29th minute. The Frenchman added another goal with a shot from outside the area in the 32nd, and got his third with a volley with his back to the net in the 36th.
Benzema was replaced by Eden Hazard to get some rest in the 65th, earning a loud ovation from fans at the Bernabéu.
Rodrygo had opened the scoring for Madrid with a low shot from inside the area in the 22nd after a buildup that started with Eduardo Camavinga, who improvised as a left back because of a suspension to Nacho Fernández and injuries to Antonio Rüdiger and Ferland Mendy.
Asensio scored the fifth goal with a left-footed shot from inside the box in the 73rd and Vázquez got the sixth in stoppage time after a pass by Hazard.
Central defender David Alaba, who had been injured in the game against Liverpool in the Champions League, was back in the Madrid squad. Vázquez played as a right back in place of Dani Carvajal following Carvajal’s stint with Spain’s national team. Midfielders Luka Modric and Federico Valverde started on the bench to get some rest ahead of the Copa semifinals.
Madrid hasn’t won the Copa since 2014. It lost 2-1 to Barcelona at the Camp Nou in a league game before the international break.
Rodrygo had a goal disallowed in the 65th because of a handball by Vinícius in the buildup. Rodrygo had to be replaced late with an apparent knee problem.
Valladolid remains without a league win against Madrid since 2008, and without a league victory at the Bernabéu since 2000.
The 16th-place team, owned by former Brazil striker Ronaldo, is one point from the relegation zone. It has won only one of its last seven league games.