Karim Benzema, the 35-year-old star footballer, has officially left Real Madrid after playing for the club for 14 years and participating in 648 games. In his final game for Madrid against Athletic Bilbao, Benzema scored a goal as the match concluded in a 1-1 draw on Sunday.
Joining Al-Ittihad in Saudi Arabia
On Tuesday, Benzema signed with Al-Ittihad, a Saudi Arabian club, marking a new chapter in his career. He will be playing against his former Real Madrid colleague, Cristiano Ronaldo, who joined Al-Nassr in January. Al-Ittihad confirmed the signing by posting a picture on Twitter, where Benzema was seen signing a contract until 2026. According to reports, the deal is expected to be valued at over 100 million euros ($106.89 million).
Benzema’s Statement and New Challenge
Expressing his enthusiasm for the new opportunity, Benzema stated, “I am excited to experience a new football league in a different country. I have been fortunate to achieve amazing things in my career and accomplish everything I can in Spain and Europe.” He further added, “It now feels the time is right for a new challenge and project… I am looking forward to joining my new teammates and, together with them, help take this amazing club and the game in Saudi Arabia to new levels.”
Impact of Benzema’s Arrival
Al-Ittihad, based in the port city of Jeddah, recently clinched their first Saudi league title since 2009, surpassing Ronaldo’s Al-Nassr from the capital city of Riyadh. The club expressed that Benzema’s arrival is the most significant transfer in their history so far. Moreover, it represents a substantial step in the Saudi Pro League’s journey towards becoming one of football’s leading destinations for top talent, following its most successful season to date.
Benzema’s Role in Al-Ittihad
Benzema is expected to be the key player in Al-Ittihad’s squad, which previously relied on Moroccan striker Abderrazak Hamdallah, the league’s top scorer. The team is coached by Nuno Espirito Santo, who previously worked with Wolverhampton and Tottenham in the English Premier League.
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