France international and Real Madrid striker, Karim Benzema, has reportedly reached an agreement with Saudi Arabian football club Al-Ittihad on a two-year contract, according to local media.
The 2022 Ballon d’Or winner will leave the Spanish club after 14 years, as a free agent having won 25 trophies, including five Champions Leagues, and will join the Jeddah-based team on a deal said to be worth over $214 million per year.
Yesterday in a statement, Benzema’s former club announced: “Real Madrid CF and our captain Karim Benzema have agreed to end his brilliant and unforgettable period as a player for our club.”
“Karim Benzema’s career at Real Madrid has been an example of behaviour and professionalism, and has represented the values of our club. Karim Benzema has earned the right to decide his future.”
🚨🇸🇦 Karim Benzema has signed main part of docs to become new Al Ittihad player joining the Saudi league — here we go!
Understand contract will be valid until 2025 but will also include option for further season.
Karim will say goodbye to Madrid fans then travel to Saudi. pic.twitter.com/OCzwszv2OL
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) June 5, 2023
According to a report yesterday by Saudi broadcaster Al-Ekhbariya, the president of Saudi champions Al-Ittihad and his deputy were in the Spanish capital “to officially sign” Benzema in a “record transfer with Real Madrid.”
The 35-year-old will be following former team mate Cristiano Ronaldo who signed a two and a half year contract with Al Nassr, having joined at the start of this year as part of a $200 million per year agreement, making him the highest-paid player in football history and the highest earning athlete of 2023.
The move also comes amid mounting speculation that Argentinian World Cup winner Lionel Messi is also to join the Saudi Pro League after leaving France’s Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) this summer. Spanish outlet SPORT reported that Al-Hilal “intend” to announce that Messi has signed for them tomorrow. He is reportedly being offered $400 million a year, which will surpass that of his rival Ronaldo whose team ended the season in second place, behind Al-Ittihad and above Al-Hilal.