Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema paid tribute to his team-mates as they coped with a succession of injuries to see off Shakhtar Donetsk 4-0 at the Santiago Bernabeu on Tuesday.
Benzema opened the scoring in the Champions League Group A clash before a second-half Cristiano Ronaldo hat-trick put the game firmly beyond their 10-man opponents, handing Rafael Benitez victory on his first European outing at the helm.
Taras Stepanenko was shown a second yellow card for a late challenge that forced Sergio Ramos off following the injury-enforced withdrawals of Gareth Bale and Raphael Varane.
“It is rare to get three key players injured,” Benzema is quoted by AS.
“But what matters are the points. The most important thing was the victory because in the first half we lacked pace and I do not know why.
“We lost control and fell down often. There were many good players were injured, but we have players capable of filling these positions.”
Benzema also paid tribute to Ronaldo, whose treble put him three goals clear of Lionel Messi in the competition’s all-time scoring charts.
“For me he is one of the best players in the world,” added the France international.
“I also have great confidence in myself, but what is more important is that the team wins.”