Real Madrid legend Karim Benzema is set to move to Saudi Arabia.
“Karim Benzema has signed the main part of his contract to join the Saudi league and become the new Al Ittihad player,” Fabrizio Romano, a journalist familiar with the transfer market, reported on social media on Friday.
Along with his report, Romano not only posted a photo of Benzema in a composite Al Ittihad jersey, but also used his trademark “Here we go!” to confirm the move.
“The contract runs until 2025 but includes an option to extend,” the statement added, “Benzema will travel to Saudi Arabia after saying goodbye to Madrid fans.”
Benzema is a self-proclaimed Real legendary forward. Benzema started playing for Real in 2009 and has since scored 354 goals and provided 165 assists in 657 career appearances, lifting 25 trophies, including five UEFA Champions League titles and four La Liga titles.
In 2021/22, he won the Ballon d’Or for the first time in his career as he enjoyed his best year ever, winning the La Liga and Champions League titles.
Benzema has been Real’s ace for many years, but as he approaches the age of 36, he has decided to part ways with the club. 메이저놀이터
“Real Madrid have reached an agreement with captain Karim Benzema to end his spectacular and unforgettable time at the club,” the club said in a statement on its official website on Thursday.
Benzema, whose contract expires on June 30, had the option to extend his contract for another year, but chose to move to Saudi Arabia instead.
Benzema’s farewell to Real came on May 5, when he started the final La Liga match of the 2022/23 season against Athletic Bilbao at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Benzema scored his final goal for Real in the 27th minute of the second half, when he headed home a penalty kick from a teammate with the score at 0-1.
When Benzema was substituted for Luka Modric, the home crowd at the Santiago Bernabeu gave him a standing ovation, and at the end of the game, the Real players gave him a rinse and wished him a fresh start.
Now that Benzema has moved on from Real, he’s headed to Saudi Arabian first division club Al Ittihad.
Al Ittihad won the Saudi Professional League title in the 2022/23 season, beating Cristiano Ronaldo’s Al Nasr.
They also met Seongnam Ilhwa (now Seongnam FC) in the 2004 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League final, losing the first leg 1-3 but winning the second leg 5-0 on a frigid night in Seongnam, earning them the nickname “Al Thugs” from Korean soccer fans.
With Benzema heading to Al Ittihad, Ronaldo and Benzema, who once formed the “BBC line” alongside Gareth Bale, are set to reunite in Saudi Arabia.
Meanwhile, as for the terms Al Ittihad offered to keep Benzema, Romano explained on March 31: “The formal offer made by Al Ittihad to Benzema is understood to include financial benefits of close to 100 million euros ($141.5 million) per season.”