Karim Benzema leaves Real Madrid for mega £172m-a-year deal rivalling Ronaldo

Real Madrid have officially confirmed that Karim Benzema will be leaving the club in advance of next season as he closes in on a mega-money move to Saudi Arabia, where he is expected to rival Cristiano Ronaldo by joining Al-Ittihad on a free transfer. The Frenchman, who won his first Ballon d’Or at the end of last year, is widely expected to accept a deal worth £172million per year with the newly-crowned Saudi Pro League champions.

Benzema will leave Real Madrid after spending 14 years on their books since joining from Marseille back in 2009, with the 35-year-old having scored a total of 353 goals for the Spanish giants during his time at the Bernabeu. An official statement confirmed the news on Sunday morning, with club president Florentino Perez said to be seeking a rebuild off the back of Los Blancos’ failure to win either La Liga or the Champions League this season.

The statement reads: “Real Madrid Football Club and our captain Karim Benzema have agreed to bring his brilliant and unforgettable time as a player at our club to a close. Real Madrid would like to show our gratitude and affection to a player who is already one of our greatest legends.

“Karim Benzema’s career at Real Madrid has been an example of behavior and professionalism, and has represented the values of our club. Karim Benzema has earned the right to decide his future.

“Madridistas and all the fans all over the world alike have enjoyed his magical and unique football, which has made him one of the great icons of our club and one of the great legends of world football. Real Madrid is and will always be his home, and we wish him and all his family the best in this new phase of his life.

“Next Tuesday 6 June, at 12:00pm [11.00am BST], an institutional act of homage and farewell to Karim Benzema will take place at Real Madrid Sport City, which will be attended by our president, Florentino Perez.”

Benzema has won four La Liga titles and secured five Champions League triumphs during his spell with Real Madrid, although he will soon embark on the next stage of his career alongside former team-mate Ronaldo in Saudi Arabia. He is reportedly poised to join Al-Ittihad, who recently pipped Al-Nassr to the Saudi Pro League honours, in a deal worth an eye-watering £345m over two years.

His exit comes just a day after Real Madrid confirmed the departures of Marco Asensio and Eden Hazard, with a busy summer window expected to unfold in the Spanish capital over the next few weeks. Long-serving midfielders Luka Modric and Toni Kroos will also be out of contract at the end of this month, although it remains to be seen whether their respective deals will be extended in the not-too-distant future.


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