Sunday, June 04, 2023
Real Madrid announced Sunday that Karim Benzema would leave the club after 14 trophy-laden years, with the Ballon d'Or winner set to move to Saudi Arabian club Al-Ittihad.
According to reports in Spanish media, Benzema — who had a year left on his contract — will sign for Al-Ittihad after receiving a two-year contract worth €400 million.
The star striker, who joined the club in 2009, has scored 353 goals and 165 assists in 647 games for the Los Blancos.
The Frenchman has won five Champions Leagues and four La Liga titles with Madrid.
"Real Madrid C. F. and our captain Karim Benzema have agreed to end their brilliant and unforgettable stage as a player of our club," Real Madrid said in an official statement.
"Real Madrid wants to show its gratitude and all its affection to the one who is already one of our greatest legends.
"Karim Benzema came to our club in 2009, when he was only 21 years old, and has been a fundamental player in this golden age of our history. During the fourteen seasons in which he has defended our shield and our shirt, he has won 25 titles, a record figure at Real Madrid: 5 European Cups, 5 Club World Cups, 4 European Super Cups, 4 Leagues, 3 King's Cups and 4 Spanish Super Cups."
Benzema, 35, is the current UEFA Golden Ball and Player of the Year, while also winning the 2022 Pichichi Trophy.
"Karim Benzema is the fifth player who has worn our shirt the most times with 647 games and is the second historical scorer of Real Madrid with 353 goals. He is also Real Madrid's second historical scorer in both the League and the European Cup. And he is also the fourth scorer of the Champions League in the history of this competition and the fourth scorer in the history of the League," the statement added.
"Karim Benzema's career at Real Madrid has been an example of behaviour and professionalism and has represented the values of our club. Karim Benzema has earned the right to decide his future," the Spanish club said in a press release.
"Real Madrid fans and all the fans of the world have enjoyed his magical and unique football, which has made him one of the great myths of our club and one of the great legends of world football.
"Real Madrid is and will always be his home, and he wishes him and his whole family the best in this new stage of his life."
The club also announced that on Tuesday, June 6, an institutional act of tribute and farewell to Benzema will take place in Ciudad Real Madrid.