Karim Benzema will leave Real Madrid this summer after 14 years in the Spanish capital to join Saudi Arabian side Al-Ittihad.
The 35-year-old’s departure was confirmed on Sunday through an official 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 set to join the Jeddah-based side on a deal reported to be worth in excess of £172million per year.
Al-Ittihad are currently managed by former Wolves and Tottenham boss Nuno Espirito Santo and won the 2022-23 Saudi Pro League, five points clear of Cristiano Ronaldo’s Al-Nassr.
Earlier this month Benzema had downplayed reports that he would depart the club this summer, and insisted that, at least for ‘the moment’, he remained on the books at Madrid.
Benzema has made over 600 appearances in all competitions for Los Blancos, and is the club’s second-highest goalscorer of all time, behind only former teammate Ronaldo.
Then-Madrid boss Manuel Pellegrini brought Benzema to the Bernabeu in 2009, after he had enjoyed a pair of prolific campaigns in Ligue 1 with Lyon.
Since then the striker has been an integral part of Real Madrid’s dominance throughout the 2010s and beyond, winning fives Champions League titles and La Liga four times amongst various other trophies.
After netting a career-best 44 goals in 46 games in the 2021-22 season Benzema became the oldest Ballon d’Or winner since Stanley Matthews, collecting the coveted honour in the same season he won his fifth Champions League trophy, a joint-record.