Speaking after Real Madrida s 3-0 win over Levante, manager Rafael Benitez praised record goal-scorer Cristiano Ronaldo for taking charge of the teama s attack as Gareth Bale was taken off following his a intensea outing with the Welsh national team. The manager also singled out Keylor Navas and the academy graduates for putting up a strong performance in the absence of several key first team players.

With Luka Modric, Sergio Ramos, Pepe and Karim Benzema injured, Real Madrid put forth a convincing display as they prepare for a grueling mid-week Champions League fixture against PSG.

Cristiano Ronaldo had to take charge as key attacking players were missing

The Portuguese superstar scored his 324th . goal for Real Madrid as he eclipsed Raul as the leading goal scorer of the club. Goals from Marcelo, Cristiano Ronaldo and Jese Rodriguez ensured that Real Madrid earned three points in the absence of James Rodriguez and Karim Benzema in the attack.

As reported by the official club website, Benitez singled out Ronaldo for praise as he admitted that Real Madrid needed him to take charge with several key attacking players missing from the pitch.

a Cristiano took on the responsibility because we were lacking people up front, he had to spearhead the team and that’s what he did.a

The manager also revealed that he decided to take Gareth Bale off as the Welshman showed signs of fatigue following his heroics with the national team.

“After going 2-0 up, with the intense week that he (Bale) has had, we saw that he was tired and looked to bring on pace.”

"We saw that he (Gareth Bale) was tired."

“We saw that he (Gareth Bale) was tired.”

Academy graduates come good for Real Madrid

The manager also reserved a special word of praise for Madrida s academy graduates as Jese, Lucas Vazquez and debutant Marcos Llorente earned some playing time as Benitez continues to grapple with an injury crisis.

“There were several positives today: seven academy products on the bench and the odd one on the pitch, the entrances of Lucas [VA?zquez] and Jes that injected energy, speed and penetration, and Marcos Llorente’s debut.a

Due to face PSG in the Champions League, Real Madrid seem to be limping with Luka Modric and Jese Rodriguez missing from the starting lineup. Captain Sergio Ramos is expected to make a timely return but with Benzema joining the injured list at Madrid, Benitez will be banking heavily on Gareth Bale to strike up an effective partnership with Cristiano Ronaldo in front of the goal. The manager continues an impressive defensive record as Keylor Navas put forth yet another exemplary display to help Real Madrid forget about the failed David de Dea transfer.