​Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane heaped praise on Karim Benzema after the striker's hat trick earned his side a comfortable 3-0 win over Athletic Bilbao on Sunday.

After a dour first half bereft of any meaningful chances, the 31-year-old opened the scoring two minutes after the restart and then stole the headlines with two further strikes.

With 25 goals the Frenchman is the club's runaway top scorer this season, yet still many supporters are still divided on Benzema's ability.

However, Zidane was suitably convinced on his countryman's talent - insisting there is no better number nine around.

"Everyone is entitled to their opinion about who's the best," he said via the ​club's official website"In my view, he's the best, but everyone can have their own opinion. With eight goals in a row, he's the best player around right now. 

"I know the player he is and his teammates too, and what he can contribute to the team. What he is doing in terms of goals is impressive and I’m happy for him."

Despite scoring three goals, Madrid's performance was far from vintage, especially in the first half, yet the 46-year-old was pleased with the way his side played and was particularly happy with his team's focus throughout the 90 minutes.

"We played very well and kept a clean sheet, we made a difference with the ball, but firstly we had to defend," he added.

"We were very focussed in every aspect where the opponent could have caused us problems, we were very focused and with the quality of the players we have, they showed what they can do, I don’t know if it's the best match, but the important thing is to win."