Benzema Confirms Exit From Real Madrid After 14 Years

Benzema Confirms Exit From Real Madrid After 14 Years

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The Ballon d’Or winner is leaving Real Madrid as a free agent in the close season after 14 trophy-laden years. Karim Benzema had looked set to stay at the Spanish club for one more year after a 2023–23 season, but a new offer worth more than 100 million euros, an equivalent of $107.05 million, from Saudi Arabia reportedly made him reconsider his future.

As he exits Real Madrid, the Frenchman, 35, will join Saudi Arabian champions Al-Ittihad. 

Benzema, who struggled with injuries during the 2022–23 season and missed out on France’s World Cup campaign in Qatar as a result of an injury, opted to void the one-year extension clause he had in his contract, with Real Madrid stating he had earned the right to decide his future. 

Saudi Arabia’s state-run Al Ekhbariya TV station reported that Al-Ittihad reached an agreement with Benzema on a two-year contract, with officials in Madrid to hammer out a record deal with the striker. 

The club said in a statement, “Real Madrid and our captain Karim Benzema have agreed to bring his brilliant and unforgettable time as a player at our club to a close. Karim Benzema’s career at Real Madrid has been a shining example of conduct and professionalism, and he has represented the values of our club.” Benzema’s existence comes a day after Real announced Eden Hazard was leaving the club after agreeing to terminate his contract a year early.

Benzema could follow his former Real teammate Cristiano Ronaldo to the Gulf country after Portugal forward signed a 2-1/2 year contract worth over 200 million euros with Al Nassr in December. 

Benzema became the spearhead of Real Madrid’s attack after joining the club in 2009 from Olympique Lyonnais and also their main goal-scoring threat after Ronaldo left for Juventus in 2018. He has since scored over 350 goals for Real to sit second on the club’s all-time scoring list behind Ronaldo. He had his best season in the 2021-22 campaign when he scored 44 times in all competitions., leading to the 14th European title and the La Liga crown. 

Benzema’s pivotal role earned him the Ballon d’Or crown, making him the first French player to win the trophy since Zinedine Zidane in 1998. He finishes his career in the Spanish capital with a record 25 trophies with the club, including three Copas del Rey, four La Liga titles, and five European cups. However, Real Madrid also confirmed the exits of striker Mariano Diaz and midfielder Marco Asensio.