Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema has been having a stellar season with already 21 goals to his name after his hattrick against Athletic Bilbao on Sunday. He is currently the second highest scorer in La Liga behind Lionel Messi, who has 30 goals so far in all competitions. Following his performance, head coach and club legend Zinedine Zidane has hailed him as the best number nine in the world.

The 31-year-old has now scored Real Madrid’s eight goals. He was quoted by Reuters as saying:  “I know what a player Benzema is, everyone knows it. The number of goals he’s scoring is incredible,” said Zidane. “I’m made up for him.

“What he’s doing here, and the fact he’s two goals away from his best-ever goals tally, says it all. Everyone can have their opinion on who is the best number nine in the world and for me it’s Karim. “He is confident, he knows you can always improve too, which is great. It doesn’t surprise me what he’s doing.”

However, Zidane was left confused by the fans’ attitude towards Gareth Bale as they booed the winger even despite the victory. The Welsh international has been heavily linked with a move away from the club with the likes of Bayern Munich and Manchester United being the frontrunners for his signature. He has also been omitted in the starting eleven of the club’s previous two matches.

Against Athletic Bilbao, he came on as a substitute with over 20 minutes remaining and with his first few touches, he was jeered by the home crowd at Bernabeu.

Speaking on the situation, Zidane said he did not understand why the fans behaved like that especially as they cheered for Isco, who also came on at the same time.

“He had a chance to score and it would’ve been great if he did, but it didn’t go in. I don’t want to get involved in the rest,” Zidane added. Bale provided the assist for Benzema’s for his third goal.