Karim Benzema scored a hat-trick and made an assist on a successful return to the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu for Real Madrid, who rallied to beat Celta Vigo 5-2 on Sunday night.
The French striker provided the lone goal for Los Blancos in what was a shaky first 45 minutes for the hosts, who were down 2-1 at the break. But Benzema struck early in the second stanza and then set up Vinicius for the go-ahead goal before tacking on a late penalty.
It was also a successful debut for Eduardo Camavinga, who scored Madrid’s fourth of the night, making for a happy homecoming to the remodeled Bernabeu where the hosts had not played since the 2019/20 season.
Coach Carlo Ancelotti opted for youngster Miguel Gutierrez at left-back, meanwhile in attack both Vinicius and Eden Hazard were included with Benzema.
The first goal in the revamped Bernabeu would go to Celta, as Madrid made a mess of things in the backs with Miguel, Casemiro and Nacho all failing to clear danger and Santi Mina was more than happy to take advantage and finish past goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois for a 1-0 lead.
Madrid nearly answered immediately on a flicked-on header from Vinicius, but Celta goalkeeper Dituro’s reaction save kept the Galicians ahead. The home side continued to mount the pressure, but they were still looking flimsy at the back and another glaring error almost yielded a second Celta goal, with a late Nacho intervention sparing their blushes.
The equaliser would come though midway through the half, with Casemiro floating a pass to Fede Valverde, who cut the ball back for Benzema and the Frenchman steered the bouncing ball in to make it 1-1.
Celta were unfazed and they struck back to regain the lead, 2-1, on a break in which Hugo Mallo slipped a pass into Franco Cervi, who hit the post on a back-heel flick but was there to score the rebound.
It took fewer than 45 seconds for Madrid to respond after the re-start, with Benzema guiding a perfect header back across goal and into net off a cross from Miguel to make it 2-2.
Benzema then got to play the role of playmaker in setting up Vinicius for the go-ahead goal, 3-2, with a filtered pass into the charging Brazilian, who was played onside by Murillo, allowing for a free run at goal and a finish.
Ancelotti made his first changes after the hour mark, as Hazard made way for debutant Camavinga, but it was Vinicius who was threatening again after a Celta error and only a kick-save from Dituro avoided Madrid’s fourth.
Camavinga could not have asked for a better start to his Madrid career, as he latched onto a rebound after a driving run from Luka Modric and calmly slotted home for a 4-2 advantage.
Celta tried to get back into it and it was all there for Nolito to pull a goal back, but his attempted chip in front of goal went awry.
The next Madrid switch saw Modric make way for Marco Asensio, but the night belonged to Benzema and Vinicius, the latter earning a late penalty, which was converted by Benzema to complete the 5-2 scoreline.
5.- Real Madrid: Courtois; Carvajal, Militao, Nacho, Miguel (Marcelo, min. 89); Casemiro, Valverde, Modric (Asensio, min. 79); Vinicius (Rodrygo, min. 89), Hazard (Camavinga, min. 65), Benzema.
2.- Celta: Dituro; Hugo Mallo, Araujo, Murillo (Aidoo, min. 89), Javi Galan; Tapia (Fran Beltran, min. 46); Denis Suarez, Brais Mendez (Solari, min. 52), Cervi (Nolito, min. 63); Aspas, Santi Mina (Thiago Galhardo, min. 63).
Goals: 0-1, min. 4: Santi Mina; 1-1, min. 24: Benzema; 1-2, min. 31: Cervi; 2-2, min. 46: Benzema; 3-2, min. 55: Vinicius; 4-2, min. 72: Camavinga; 5-2, min. 87: Benzema (p)
Referee: Sanchez Martinez (Murcia). Yellow cards: Nacho (Min. 32) for Real Madrid, Murillo (Min. 43) for Celta, Vinicius (Min. 55) for Real Madrid, Araujo (Min. 63) for Celta, Solari (Min. 63) for Celta
Red cards: None
Stadium: Santiago Bernabeu