Thousands of fans protest outside as Real Madrid go top of La Liga - in pictures

Los Blancos players shrug off turmoil of European Super League

Real Madrid enjoyed temporary respite from their European Super League humiliation by thrashing Cadiz 3-0 to keep the pressure on Atletico Madrid at the top of La Liga.

As thousands of fans protested outside the ground, three goals in 10 minutes towards the end of the first half helped Madrid go above Atletico, who play at home to Huesca on Thursday.

Karim Benzema scored twice and set up another for Alvaro Odriozola to head in at the Ramon de Carranza stadium, where any suggestion Madrid's players might be destabilised after a hugely controversial few days was dismissed.

Madrid president Florentino Perez was the only owner from the European Super League's 12 founding clubs to speak publicly about the competition following its remarkable launch on Sunday night.

And despite 10 of the 12 pulling out in the face of anger and opposition from all sides of the game, Real were still officially part of the breakaway tournament when the players kicked off on Wednesday night.

La Liga sought to capitalise on the momentum towards reform, with the slogan 'Earn it! On the pitch' projected for television viewers across the stand where the virtual fans would usually be.

Cadiz players wore T-shirts in the warm-up that read 'Super League? Football is for everyone'.

This was Real's 16th game unbeaten and returned the team to winning ways after Sunday's goalless draw at Getafe.

Casemiro and Nacho Fernandez were both suspended for that game and Zinedine Zidane welcomed the duo back into a side that remained depleted by injuries, with the 20-year-old Antonio Blanco thrown into midfield.

Benzema, though, led from the front, his pass into Vincius Junior creating the penalty after Iza dangled out a leg in front of the striker.

Benzema buried the spot-kick into the bottom corner.

The second came three minutes later, Iza at fault again as he gave the ball away under pressure from Marcelo and Benzema crossed to the back post, where Odriozola nodded in.

In the 40th minute, it was three. Casemiro's pass for Vinicius was cleared but only straight back to the midfielder, who this time chipped the ball up for Benzema to add his second, Madrid's third.

Updated: April 22, 2021 12:53 PM

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