The final whistle has been blown on Karim Benzema's time at Real Madrid. The Spanish club confirmed he would not be returning next season. The announcement comes amid reports the French striker will play in Saudi Arabia.
Real Madrid said it reached an agreement with the French striker to “bring his brilliant and unforgettable time as a player at our club to a close.”
Madrid said Benzema “has represented the values" of the club and “has earned the right to decide his future.”
The announcement comes amid reports of a lucrative move by the forward to play in Saudi Arabia. Saudi state-run television has said he has signed a two-year deal with Al-Ittihad.
The 35-year-old has been with Madrid since 2009, playing 14 seasons with the club. He helped the club secure 25 titles, a record for any player with the Spanish powerhouse.
Among his titles are five Champions Leagues, five Club World Cups and four Spanish leagues.
Benzema is the current Ballon d’Or winner and UEFA’s Player of the Year. He had a memorable season in 2021-22, leading Madrid to the Champions League title with a competition-best 15 goals.
Benzema has made 647 appearances for the Real, the fifth most by any player. He is the club’s second all-time leading scorer with 353 goals. The Frenchman is the fourth top scorer in the history of the Champions League and the fourth top scorer in the history of the Spanish League.
“Benzema’s career at Real Madrid has been a shining example of conduct and professionalism,” said the club.
Real Madrid is set to organise an “act of homage and farewell” for Benzema.
Three other players are also leaving Madrid this summer: Eden Hazard, Marco Asensio and Mariano Díaz.