Luka Modric goal and a Karim Benzema penalty secured a comfortable victory for Real Madrid.
Benzema edged two previous winners, Kylian Mbappe and N'Golo Kante, in the France Football poll announced on Friday
LaLiga: Karim Benzema, Vinicius Junior shine in Real Madrid's win over Valencia, Barcelona held by Granada
Karim Benzema passed 300 goals for Real Madrid as La Liga's run-away leaders sailed past Valencia 4-1 on Saturday.
La Liga: Real Madrid extend lead to 13 points after win over Atletico Madrid; Barcelona held to draw by Osasuna
Real Madrid strengthened their already-commanding position in the title race on Sunday by defeating Atletico 2-0 to move 13 points clear of the defending champions in La Liga.
LaLiga: Karim Benzema helps Real Madrid beat Athletic Bilbao, solidify themselves at top of the table
Benzema's 20th goal in 24 games this season proved the difference in a 1-0 victory at the Santiago Bernabeu that puts Madrid firmly in charge of the Spanish title race, even after only 15 games played.
Benzema, 33, finished fourth behind Messi, Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski, and Chelsea midfielder Jorginho
The sentence was tougher than that sought by prosecutors against the 33-year-old player over the 2015 extortion attempt, which led Benzema to be cast out of the France team for five-and-a-half years.
Prosecutors are calling for Karim Benzema to be given a 10-month suspended sentence.
Robert Lewandowski, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo among 11-man shortlist for Best FIFA Men's Player award
Robert Lewandowski is in the running to retain his Best FIFA Men's Player award after he was named Monday on an 11-man shortlist alongside Karim Benzema and Jorginho.
The case cost both Benzema and 37-year-old Valbuena their places in the French national team, though Benzema was restored to the squad for this year's European Championship.
The Reds are top of Group B with three wins out of three while Atletico are equal on four points with Porto, who beat AC Milan 1-0 in Portugal.
UEFA Nations League: Didier Deschamps 'improved' Karim Benzema's maturity after helping France to title
Benzema scored France's equaliser in a 2-1 win over Spain which handed the world champions the trophy, and Deschamps was delighted with his striker.
Mbappe struck with 10 minutes remaining to win the title for world champions France after Karim Benzema had levelled just two minutes after Mikel Oyarzabal put Spain into a 64th-minute lead.
Benzema was selected on the long list of 30 for the 2021 Ballon d'Or on Friday a day after scoring as France beat Belgium 3-2 and make the Nations League final.
AC Milan full-back Hernandez netted his first France goal in the 90th minute of his second international appearance after France had come back from 2-0 down at half-time at the Allianz Stadium in Turin through strikes from Karim Benzema and Kylian Mbappe.
Espanyol had won just once in seven games this season but they hung on grimly in five minutes of added time to take all three points.
The result will go down as one of the most surprising in the history of the competition and delivers a significant boost to Moldovan club Sheriff's chances of qualifying for the last 16.
LaLiga: Marco Asensio's hat-trick helps Real Madrid thrash Mallorca 6-1; Sevilla hand Valencia 3-1 loss
Victory lifts Real Madrid two points clear of Atletico at the top of La Liga, with Sevilla up to third after they had earlier eased past Valencia 3-1.
Real Madrid remain unbeaten this term, having now won five and drawn one of their first six matches in all competitions under returning coach Carlo Ancelotti.
Champions League: Karim Benzema says Real Madrid have a 'strong side', can go all the way in tournament
Madrid reached the semi-finals last season and Benzema believes they have what it takes to go all the way this time round ahead of Wednesday's match at the San Siro.