Karim Benzema, 35, has joined Saudi Arabia’s Al Ittihad.
Al Ittihad announced the signing of Benzema through its official channel on July 7, saying, “Introducing our new superstar, Benzema. Welcome to Al Ittihad,” the club announced the signing of Benzema. Benzema was holding an Al Ittihad jersey with “2026” written on the back, indicating the length of his contract.
European transfer market expert Fabrizio Romano commented: “Benzema has signed a standard two-year contract with Al Ittihad, with an option for a one-year extension. His net salary per season, including commercial deals, will be close to €200 million.”
On his move to Al Ittihad from Real Madrid, Benzema said: “Al Ittihad is a new challenge for me. It’s a good league, there are a lot of good players. Cristiano Ronaldo (Al Nasr) is already in this league. He showed that Saudi Arabia is starting to get ahead. I’m here to win, just like I did in Europe,” he said on joining the club.
French forward Benzema made his professional debut in 2005 after spending his youth career with Olympique Lyonnais. It was during the 2007-08 season that his talent really blossomed. In 52 official games, Benzema scored 31 goals and provided 10 assists and was touted as the next great French striker. In the following season, he scored 23 goals and added six assists, attracting interest from big clubs.
His performances earned him an offer from Real, and he became a key part of Galactico’s two-year policy. The transfer fee was €35 million (approximately KRW 490 million). At the time, Benzema’s arrival alongside the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaka was highly anticipated, and he went on to lead Real to a golden era as he consistently racked up offensive points.
He got better and better, and last year he won the Ballon d’Or, one of soccer’s most prestigious honors. In 2021-22, Benzema was the top scorer in La Liga 토토사이트 (27 goals) and the top scorer in the UEFA Champions League (UCL) (15 goals), winning the La Liga, UCL, and Supercopa de España titles. He also reached the top of the 2020-21 UEFA Nations League with the French national team. After an epic season, he realized his dream.
This season, he showed his fixer-upper instincts despite frequent injuries and the lack of a backup striker. In 43 official games, he scored 31 goals and provided six assists. With Real, he won the Club World Cup and the Copa del Rey. His career record at Real is 354 goals and 165 assists in 648 games.
Now, Benzema will take on a new challenge in Saudi Arabia. Al Ittihad won the Saudi Professional League in the 2022-23 season. They were crowned champions with 72 points, five points ahead of Al Nasr (67), where Ronaldo plays. He signed a two-and-a-half-year contract with the club and will spend the rest of his career earning $280 million per season.