Karim Benzema officially joins Al-Ittihad after departing Real Madrid

    Karim Benzema has completed his move to Al Ittihad, the Saudi club has confirmed.

    In the summer, the striker leaves Real Madrid and signed a three-year contract with the champions of Saudi Arabia.

    Benzema was allowed to leave the Bernabéu 14 years after the 12-month extension he had was annulled.

    Earlier Tuesday, the 35-year-old vowed he would never forget Real Madrid.

    The French international scored 354 goals in 648 games and won a club-record 25 trophies during his time in La Liga.

    “I will never forget Real Madrid because it is impossible,” he said at a farewell press conference.

    “It’s hard to say. So many emotions. I wanted to thank Real Madrid and my teammates. It was a good trip in my life.

    “I was lucky to fulfill my childhood dream thanks to the president, who long ago, when I was only 21 years old, went to my house, with my parents.

    “When I saw you, I said that this is the man who brought Zizu and Ronaldo, and now he wants me to be on his team. Thank you very much for this.

    “I will never forget Real Madrid because it is impossible. This is the best club in the world and in history, it’s as good as it gets. Today it’s time for me to leave and have a different story, but the most important thing for me is that I won here.

    “It’s a bit of a sad day because I’m leaving this club and it hurts me. My dream was in my head, I signed with Madrid and wanted to finish at Madrid but life sometimes gives you another opportunity and I took it with my whole family.”

    Benzema joined from Lyon in 2009 and has won four La Liga titles and five Champions League crowns. He also won the 2022 Ballon d’Or.

    Real Madrid president Florentino Perez said: “Today is a very difficult day for me. It is a day that brings back the memories and emotions of the last 14 years, as well as a day of feelings and emotions for all Madrid residents.

    “14 years ago, a period of great anticipation began for all Madrid, one of the most impressive in our 121-year history.”

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