But the Frenchman delivered by no means the only eye-catching personal performance as Los Blancos waltzed to an exceptionally comfortable victory only spoiled by a red card for Raphael Varane and a possible injury for Sergio Ramos.
Let’s see how all 28 players performed with our player ratings.
D Lopez 6. Blameless for the goals he conceded and produced some decent stops, especially a real stunner to deny Carvajal.
J Lopez 6. Succeeded in containing Vinicius pretty well and got forward when he could, but was erratic in possession.
L Lopez 5. Making only his second league appearance, the young centre back looked out of his depth against Benzema’s smooth movement.
Hermoso 5. Reported Real transfer target won’t have added much to his market value with a ponderous performance.
Vila 4. Had a tough time up against Vazquez, and unable to get forward. Misery spared when he was subbed out.
Roca 5. Yellow carded early for tugging back Kroos and that set the tone. Regularly lost possession but did assist Rosales’s goal.
Darder 3. Looking unfit and disinterested, he was a liability in the centre of the field. Amazing he lasted 75 minutes.
A Lopez 5. Young debutant looked confident in possession but was given a runaround off the ball. Talented but raw.
Baptistao 5. Tested Courtois with an angled strike and blasted home from the resulting corner, but little other contribution.
Iglesias 4. Plenty of endeavour and willing running, but made little impact other than a long-range shot over the top.
Garcia 6. Showed incisive attacking intent and never stopped working hard. Booked for barrelling over Ramos.
Rosales 7. Entered the fray to replace Didac and tightened up the defence as well as blasting home a memorable volley.
Piatti 6. Came on for Baptistao after Real’s fourth goal and had an impact by running through to provoke Varane’s red card.
Melendo 6. Diminutive playmaker belatedly introduced for the woeful Darder and produced some creative touches.
Courtois 6. Showed a strong right hand to deny Baptistao and had little other involvement. Powerless for the goals.
Carvajal 7. Made a couple of strong defensive interventions in the early stages and always a willing runner down the right.
Varane 6. Spoiled an otherwise impeccable performance by earning a deserved straight red card for hauling back Piatti.
Ramos 7. Produced a magnificent header for the second goal but was later injured by Garcia and replaced at the break.
Reguilon 7. Did a very steady job at left-back and later moved to the centre of defence following the dismissal of Varane.
Casemiro 7. Patrolled the centre of the pitch with authority, regularly regaining possession and driving his team forward.
Modric 8. Assisted the first two goals with a parried shot and a pinpoint cross, and delivered some sublime touches.
Kroos 7. Back from injury and straight into his usual smooth routine – pinging, prodding and powering passes all over the place.
Vazquez 7. Made a several dangerous thrusts down the right, also doing a diligent job in defence against Garcia.
Benzema 9. Slotted home the opener, curled home a superb second and linked play wonderfully from his false nine role.
Vinicius 6. Threatened with an early shot and teed up Benzema’s second but was largely subdued and replaced by Bale.
Nacho 6. Came on for injured skipper Ramos at half-time and was solid, heading off the line to deny Garcia.
Bale 7. Returned from injury midway through the second half and scored a brilliant goal within two minutes.
Marcelo 6. Came on for the final 15 minutes and showed unusual restraint as his ten-men team closed out the game.
Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde immediately turned his attention to Wednesday’s vital Copa del Rey quarter-final after his side recorded an eighth successive La Liga victory.
The leaders restored their five-point advantage at the top with a 2-0 win over Girona on Sunday after Nelson Semedo’s first goal for the club was followed by Lionel Messi’s 19th league strike of the season.
The winning run is the best under Valverde’s management, but the Barca boss is already thinking about overturning a 2-0 deficit in the second leg of their cup tie at home to Sevilla in midweek.
“Today’s match was key because it’s a derby and because we know how Girona play, as they’re an intense and great team, but now we’ll recover tomorrow and start thinking about Wednesday,” he said in his post-match press conference, according to Marca.
“Our hope is to go through. We made changes the other day (leaving out the likes of Messi and Sergio Busquets) with respect to today’s line-up.
“We have three matches in six days this week and there’s also a very important one against Valencia (on Saturday), but it’s true that what matters to us right now is the Copa del Rey.
“I don’t want another result like the other day.”
Valverde also defended Philippe Coutinho, who has scored just once in the last 15 matches and failed to sparkle again against Girona, who had Bernardo Espinosa sent off before Messi made the game safe.
“What I like about him is that he always tries things and takes on his man,” the Barca boss added about Coutinho.
“It might work or it might not. He had chances today, but didn’t score because their goalkeeper is excellent.
“He’ll convert other chances soon.”
Provided by Press Association Sport
Atletico Madrid cut the gap to La Liga leaders Barcelona to two points as they beat Getafe 2-0 at Wanda Metropolitano.
Diego Simeone’s second-placed side went ahead through Antoine Griezmann’s strike in the 27th minute, and 10 minutes later Saul Niguez doubled the advantage.
Getafe, who remain sixth, had two players sent off late on, with Djene Dakonam being dismissed in the 88th minute and Leandro Cabrera then getting his marching orders in stoppage time.
Barcelona will look to take their lead at the top back to five points when they face Girona away on Sunday.
Sevilla moved up a place to third, pushing Real Madrid down to fourth, after thrashing Levante 5-0 at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium, their first win in five league games.
All the goals came in the second half – efforts from Wissam Ben Yedder, Andre Silva and Franco Vazquez, a Pablo Sarabia penalty, and Quincy Promes’ finish on the follow-up after his spot-kick was saved by Oier Olazabal.
Real, who have the same amount of points as Sevilla, are at Espanyol on Sunday evening.
Valencia rose two places to seventh with a 3-0 home win over second-bottom Villarreal, Mouctar Diakhaby netting early on before Denis Cheryshev and Rodrigo added goals after the break.
Leganes fought back from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 at home against Eibar. Youssef En-Nesyri scored a brace in the second half after Kike and Joan Jordan had netted for the away side in the first.