Messi vs Benzema: Real Madrid launches operation Pichichi

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La Liga Santander only has two rounds remaining and Real Madrid CF is hell bent on defeating Villarreal on Thursday night to secure the title. Likewise, the team is getting behind striker Karim Benzema, who still has a chance to win the Pichichi Trophy if he becomes the league’s top scorer at the end of the season.

As it stands, FC Barcelona captain Lionel Messi is leading the goal tally with a total of 22 so far. The Real Madrid forward is three goals behind with a total haul of 19 league goals. Winning the Pichichi will be a vindication of sorts for Benzema, who lived under the shadow of Cristiano Ronaldo for many years.

After a somewhat disastrous run for the team since the departure of Ronaldo (and Zinedine Zidane), Benzema has had a very heavy weight on his shoulders. With Real Madrid currently in pole position to win their first La Liga title since 2017, the Pichichi as well as the Zamora Trophy for keeper Thibaut Courtois would mean a lot for the organisation as a whole.

Three goals in two matches won’t be easy but doable. However, there’s no guarantee that Messi won’t be adding more to his tally as well. The Argentine star hasn’t scored in Barcelona’s last three games, but that does not mean he wasn’t playing well. In fact, he was instrumental in several assists.

According to Marca, Ronaldo was the last Real Madrid player to win the Pichichi, and that was way back in the 2014-15 season. In the years that followed, Messi and fellow Barcelona forward Luis Suarez dominated the award.

After just over a year since Zidane‘s return to the helm of the squad, Real Madrid is on the cusp of an immensely successful season. If they win La Liga and the individual trophies, they will be going into the second leg of their UEFA Champions League round-of-16 clash against Manchester City with booming confidence. It remains to be seen if they will be able to bounce back from a 2-1 first leg deficit.


Karim Benzema scored his 23rd goal of the season as Real Madrid beat Alaves 2-0 on Friday. AFP / GABRIEL BOUYS