Real Madrid have confirmed that Karim Benzema will leave the club this summer with the forward expected to complete a move to Saudi side Al Ittihad.
Benzema has received a lucrative proposal to become the latest big name to join The Saudi Pro League, following Cristiano Ronaldo’s move to Al-Nassr in January.
The French forward departs Real Madrid as the club’s second highest goalscorer and as the reigning Ballon d’Or winner, having won football’s most prestigious individual accolade after leading the Spanish side to La Liga and Champions League success in 2021/22.
The club have released an official statement confirming the 35-year-old’s departure and have thanked him for his service, which has seen Benzema score 353 goals in 647 appearances since signing from Lyon in 2009.
“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,” the statement read.
“Real Madrid would like to show our gratitude and affection to a player who is already one of our greatest legends.
“Karim Benzema joined our club in 2009, at just 21 years of age, and has been a fundamental player in this golden age of our history. During the fourteen seasons in which he has represented our badge and our shirt, he has won 25 titles, a record number for any Real Madrid player: 5 European Cups, 5 Club World Cups, 4 European Super Cups, 4 Leagues, 3 King’s Cups and 4 Spanish Super Cups.
“Karim Benzema is the current UEFA Ballon d’Or and UEFA Player of the Year, as well as being included in the FIFA FIFPRO XI and winning the Pichichi Trophy 2022. Awards received after one of the most extraordinary seasons in our history, especially in the Champions League, in which our captain played some memorable matches that contributed to Real Madrid winning their 14th European Cup in Paris, being the top scorer of the competition with 15 goals.
“Karim Benzema is the fifth player who has worn our shirt the most times with 647 appearances, and is Real Madrid’s second all-time top scorer with 353 goals. He is also Real Madrid’s second all-time top scorer in both La Liga and the European Cup. He is also the fourth top scorer in the history of the Champions League and the fourth top scorer in the history of La Liga.
“Karim Benzema’s career at Real Madrid has been a shining example of conduct and professionalism, and he 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 always will be his home, and we wish him and all his family all the best in this new stage of his life.”