Karim Benzema joins Al Ittihad after Real Madrid departure

Karim Benzema has signed for Al Ittihad, the club announced Tuesday, becoming the latest star to join the Saudi Pro League.

Benzema, 35, left Real Madrid following the 2022-23 season after 14 years at the Bernabeu. He scored his final goal for the club in their season-ending 1-1 draw against Athletic Club on Sunday.

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The former France striker was expected to sign for a further year with Madrid, but he has instead joined former teammate Cristiano Ronaldo in the Saudi Pro League. Sources told ESPN last Tuesday that Benzema was offered a two-year, €400 million contract by the Saudi champions.

The 2022 Ballon d’Or winner scored 354 goals for Madrid across 648 matches while earning a record 25 trophies at Madrid, consisting of four LaLiga titles, five Champions Leagues, three Copas del Rey, four Spanish Supercopas, four UEFA Super Cups and five FIFA Club World Cups.

Despite an injury-hit campaign which saw him forcibly withdrawn from France’s World Cup squad, Benzema notched 31 goals in 43 games while also providing six assists last season.

Benzema was integral in Madrid’s 2021-22 campaign, scoring 27 times in LaLiga and 15 times in the Champions League as the club won both trophies.

The striker is Madrid’s second-highest all-time goalscorer behind Ronaldo. The club held an event at its training ground on Tuesday to pay tribute to the Frenchman.