Real Madrid has announced that Karim Benzema will leave the Spanish club after 14 years to join Saudi Arabian side Al-Ittihad.
The 35-year-old’s departure was confirmed on Sunday June 4, in a statement on the club’s website that referred to the striker as a ‘fundamental player in this golden age of our history’ and as one of the club’s ‘greatest legends’.
Madrid also announced that they will hold a tribute and farewell to the club captain in the city on Tuesday to honour his glittering spell with the club.
The Ballon d’Or winner is reportedly set to join the Jeddah-based side on a two-year deal worth around £345m.
Al-Ittihad are currently managed by former Wolves and Tottenham boss Nuno Espirito Santo and won the 2022-23 Saudi Pro League, finishing five points clear of Cristiano Ronaldo’s Al-Nassr.
Benzema is Real Madrid’s second-highest goal scorer of all time and has won a joint-record 25 trophies with the club — including five Champions Leagues and four LaLiga titles — as well as the 2022 Ballon d’Or.
“Real Madrid C.F. and our captain Karim Benzema have agreed to put an end to his brilliant and unforgettable time as a player for our club,” Madrid said in a statement. “Real Madrid wants to show its gratitude and all its affection for a player who is already one of our greatest legends.
“Karim Benzema’s career at Real Madrid has been an example of behaviour and professionalism, and he has represented the values of our club. Karim Benzema has earned the right to decide his future … Real Madrid is and will always be his home, and we wish him and his entire family all the best in this new phase of his life.”
Benzema joined Madrid from Lyon in 2009 and, after a difficult start, found a place alongside Ronaldo and Gareth Bale as one of the club’s most successful forward lines.