One of Zidane's favourites is enjoying arguably his best season in a Madrid shirt with six matches still to go.
Espanyol were hanging on for half-time and they were caught out by Benzema.
"That's football. These things come to me, I see football like that", Benzema told Movistar. I'll retire before that, ' Zidane said ahead of Real's clash with Espanyol this tonight.
And before the win against Espanyol, the Frenchman said: "I won't coach for 20 years".
"We know Karim is an spectacular player and he exhibits it in each and every activity". Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane also expressed elation over the win and congratulated the players.
The result means that third-bottom Real Mallorca are eight points from the safety zone, while 19th-placed Leganes are nine adrift and bottom side Espanyol 10.
A work of art, like that cutout on the lime in Getafe, or dribbling to three athletic defenders in the Calderón in Champions, or that goal against Sevilla after knocking down rivals as if they were bowling pins to keep Madrid's streak unbeatable ... We've shown strength and attitude as a team'.
With Marcelo repeatedly caught up field, Wu Lei was able to sprint clear and his early pull-back was met by Sergi Darder at the back post, only for his shot to be blocked by Dani Carvajal.
Social media was soon awash with reaction, with many comparing the assist to a similar piece of skill from ex-Madrid midfielder Guti from back in 2010.
The onrushing Casemiro, who had earlier nearly caught out home goalkeeper Diego Lopez with a shot from the halfway line, could not miss from much closer range.
Lopez was helpless in the 45th when Benzema set up Casemiro, and the hosts never gave signs of recovering in a second half dominated by Madrid's high ball possession.
"The goal belongs to Karim". "I know how talented he is from years of playing together". He heard me ask for the ball in the open space. "The goal is 90% his".
Rufete, who was previously the club's sporting director, is Espanyol's fourth coach of the season after the sacking of Abelardo Fernandez on Saturday. This was the only goal scored in the match and the victory moved Real Madrid to the top of the league.