Real Madrid edge closer to La Liga title with Sevilla win
April 29, 2012 -- Updated 2235 GMT (0635 HKT)
French international Karim Benzema celebrates scoring Real Madrid's second goal in a 3-0 win against Sevilla on Saturday
- Goals from Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema earn Real Madrid a 3-0 win against Sevilla in the Bernabeu
- Barcelona rout Rayo Vallecano 7-0 to keep slim hopes of retaining title alive
- Malaga beat Valencia 1-0 to move up to fourth place
(CNN) -- A Karim Benzema brace helped Real Madrid to a 3-0 win over Sevilla on Sunday to edge Jose Mourinho's side one step closer to a first La Liga title in four seasons.
The French striker's goals early in the second half added to Cristiano Ronaldo's 19th minute strike to maintain their seven-point lead at the top of the table with three games remaining.
It was the perfect tonic for Real after they were knocked out of the Champions League on penalties by Bayern Munich on Wednesday.
"It was an important win and the team deserves to be champions as the players have shown their mentality and character," said Aitor Karanka, Real Madrid's assistant coach.
"We will go out looking to win games even when we are the champions, if that happens, as we only have one plan. It will be fantastic to win the league and it is the most important objective at the moment."
Barcelona, who are also coming to terms with a Champions League exit and the impending departure of coach Pep Guardiola, were runaway winners on Saturday beating Rayo Vallecano 7-0.
Puyol backs Vilanova
It was an important win and the team deserves to be champions as the players have shown their mentality and character
Aitor Karanka, Real Madrid's assistant coach
Lionel Messi opened the scoring in the 16th minute which was followed by an own goal by Roberto Correa ten minutes later.
Messi turned provider for Barca's third laying on the ball for Seydou Keita to fire a low shot past Rayo keeper David Cobeno six minutes before the break.
Pedro fired in a rebound after Messi headed against the bar at the start of the second half and Thiago scored a fifth 11 minutes from the end.
Pedro bagged a second three minutes from time but it was left to Lionel Messi to complete the rout as he scored his second in the 90th minute.
Earlier, sixth-placed Atletico Madrid scored in the third minute of injury time to salvage a 2-2 draw at Real Betis, but the result does little to enhance the Europa League finalists' chances of gaining a Champions League spot next season.
Malaga, on the other hand did, beating third place Valencia 1-0 to move into fourth and level on 55 points with Unai Emery's side.
Seventh-placed Athletic Bilbao also lost on Saturday going down 2-0 at second-from-bottom Real Zaragoza.
Part of complete coverage on
August 15, 2014 -- Updated 1151 GMT (1951 HKT)
Last season Jose Mourinho wrote off the title of hopes of his "little horse" -- but now he has a squad primed to dethrone Manchester City.
August 14, 2014 -- Updated 1858 GMT (0258 HKT)
Luis Suarez will have to wait until late October to make his competitive Barcelona debut his ban for biting an opponent was partially upheld.
August 14, 2014 -- Updated 1649 GMT (0049 HKT)
Can Louis van Gaal cut it at Manchester United? Will Bayern conquer all in Germany? Is this PSG's year to win the Champions League?
August 7, 2014 -- Updated 1012 GMT (1812 HKT)
It's been a difficult year for Barcelona on and off the pitch, and the signing of Luis Suarez has only increased the prospect of more controversy.
August 11, 2014 -- Updated 1435 GMT (2235 HKT)
Germany striker Miroslav Klose, who scored a total of 16 goals at four World Cup finals, has announced his retirement from international football.
July 31, 2014 -- Updated 1145 GMT (1945 HKT)
When celebrating an important anniversary, it's always good to look your best. At least that's theory for a Spanish football team's preseason tuxedo kit.
July 30, 2014 -- Updated 1103 GMT (1903 HKT)
While many top European clubs are targeting the U.S. market, French football is setting its sights on expanding into Asia -- with China playing a key role.
July 27, 2014 -- Updated 1229 GMT (2029 HKT)
Major League Soccer has snared another big name from England with former Chelsea star Frank Lampard committing his future to New York City FC.
July 23, 2014 -- Updated 1656 GMT (0056 HKT)
Europe's top clubs have booked a summer holiday to the U.S. -- but this is business not pleasure as they look to cash in on the World Cup afterglow.
July 22, 2014 -- Updated 1828 GMT (0228 HKT)
Former World Cup-winning captain Dunga is appointed coach of Brazil's national team for the second time, charged with restoring national pride.
July 22, 2014 -- Updated 1420 GMT (2220 HKT)
Colombia's World Cup star James Rodriguez continues Real Madrid's long tradition of signing "Galacticos."
July 21, 2014 -- Updated 1007 GMT (1807 HKT)
Germany's World Cup-winning captain Philipp Lahm has decided to go out at the top by announcing his retirement from international football.
Today's five most popular stories