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Thursday, July 18, 2024

Karim Benzema to join Ronaldo in Saudi Arabia as Real Madrid contract nears expiration » ™-

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When his Real Madrid contract expires this month, Karim Benzema is expected to join Cristiano Ronaldo in the Saudi Arabian league, according to sources who spoke to ESPN.

ESPN had reported that in January, Benzema was given a two-year deal for €400 million to move to Saudi Arabia.

The same offer was made to Cristiano Ronaldo, who left Manchester United and joined Al Nassr. Benzema, 35, has spent 14 seasons on the Bernabeu’s roster.

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He has also won the 2022 Ballon d’Or, five Champions Leagues, four LaLiga titles, and the second-most goals for the squad during that span. Rather than playing for Madrid for one more season until June 2024 as had been planned, the center-forward chose to accept a new challenge.

When his Real Madrid contract expires this month, sources have told ESPN that Karim Benzema plans to rejoin Cristiano Ronaldo in the Saudi Arabian league. ESPN had reported that Benzema has signed a two-year, €400 million contract to move to Saudi Arabia in January.

Also receiving a comparable offer was Cristiano Ronaldo, who left Manchester United and joined Al Nassr. Benzema, 35, has spent 14 seasons as a player for the Bernabeu. In that period, he has assisted on the team’s second-most goals, won four LaLiga titles, five Champions Leagues, and the 2022 Ballon d’Or. Instead of deciding to play with Madrid for one more season until June 2024 as had been planned, the center-forward chose to take on a new challenge.

The centre-forward decided to take on a new challenge rather than continue playing for Madrid for one more season until June 2024 as had been anticipated. However, Madrid will hunt for someone else to bolster the assault. Madrid is in advanced talks to sign Joselu on a loan to replace Mariano Diaz. On Thursday, as he accepted the Marca Legends award at a ceremony, Benzema declined to comment on the rumors.

“Why do I need to talk about my future? I am at Real Madrid. Not everything that you read on the internet is reality,” he said. “For the time being I’m here. I’m enjoying my time. There is a game on Saturday, and I train tomorrow.”

Madrid’s club captain has had an injury-hit season — missing the 2022 World Cup in Qatar with a hamstring problem — but still scored 18 goals in 23 LaLiga appearances, as well as four goals in the Champions League knockout stage.

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Benzema joined Madrid from Lyon in 2009 as one of Europe’s highest-rated young forwards. He initially had to compete with Gonzalo Higuain for a place in the side, before becoming a part of Madrid’s iconic “BBC” forward line alongside Gareth Bale and Ronaldo.

Asked whether he plans to speak to the Madrid fans about his future, he said: “Speak of what? “What am I going to discuss? What is being said is from the internet, and reality is not internet.”

“I was a child when I arrived at Real Madrid, I was 21 years old. I just wanted to enjoy myself and look at all that I have won. There is no other club like Real Madrid, playing at the Santiago Bernabeu, the place where the greatest of this sport have played. I’m very proud of my career.”

“The road to the Champions League last year was special. I don’t know if it will happen again, but it’s the best road I’ve experienced. When I’m on the field, I feel like they [Bernabeu fans] love me.

“Football is about enjoyment, the day I go to [Madrid’s training ground] Valdebebas and it feels like work, I will give it up.”

After Ronaldo left the team in 2018, Benzema became into the team’s primary goal threat. He scored the most goals of his career in 2021–22, leading LaLiga with 27, and adding another 15 in the Champions League. His performance earned him the Ballon d’Or in October 2022.

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