Madrid [Spain], June 1 (ANI): Karim Benzema will leave Real Madrid following his contract expiry this month to join Saudi Arabia's football club Al-Ittihad, reported ESPN on Thursday.
According to an earlier report from ESPN, Benzema received a two-year deal worth EUR400 million to relocate to Saudi Arabia in January. Cristiano Ronaldo, who joined Al Nassr after leaving Manchester United, also received a similar offer.
Benzema has spent 14 seasons with Real Madrid and is the club's second-highest goal scorer. His trophy count with the club has been great- five UEFA Champions League titles, four La Liga titles and a 2022 Ballon d'Or.
The centre-forward was expected to stay at Madrid for one more season till June 2024, but is instead now opting for a new challenge at this stage of his career.
However, Madrid will hunt for someone else to bolster the assault. Madrid is in advanced talks to sign Joselu on a loan to replace Mariano Diaz.
Benzema, who is also club captain had an injury-hit season. He missed out on the 2022 FIFA World Cup due to a hamstring injury, but still ended with 18 goals in 23 La Liga appearances and four goals in the knockout phase of the UEFA Champions League.
Benzema, one of the top young forwards in Europe, moved to Madrid from Lyon in 2009. He first had to battle Gonzalo Higuain for a spot in the team before joining Gareth Bale, Cristiano Ronaldo, and the rest of Madrid's illustrious 'BBC' forward line.
Following Cristiano Ronaldo's departure in 2018, Benzema was the club's main striker. He scored the most goals of his career in 2021-22, leading La Liga with 27, and adding another 15 in the Champions League. His performance earned him the Ballon d'Or in October 2022.
Benzema will leave Madrid with a total of 24 trophies: Four La Liga titles, five Champions League titles, three Copa Del Rey titles, three Spanish Supercopas, four UEFA Super Cups and five FIFA Club World Cups. His tally of 353 goals with the club is only surpassed by Ronaldo, who has scored 450 goals.
Following France's World Cup final loss to Argentina in December, Benzema announced his retirement from international play. Didier Deschamps had left him out of his nation's roster because he had not recovered from an injury in time for the competition to begin. (ANI)