Ballon d’Or striker Karim Benzema has officially joined Saudi Arabia’s Al Ittihad.
The club announced the news on social media on Sunday (July 7). His contract runs until 2026. According to transfer market expert Fabrizio Romano, it’s a 2+1 year deal. Benzema will reportedly receive a whopping 400 million euros ($555 million) over that period.
Meanwhile, Al Ittihad’s English-language social media accounts posted a post about Benzema’s arrival. “I’m excited to experience a new football league in a different country,” Benzema told the club, “Al Ittihad is a club with an incredible history and passionate fans. I felt this was the right time to take on a new challenge.”
“I will show my abilities, score goals and give everything for the trophy to satisfy the fans and the club,” Benzema continued, “I am here to win, just like I did in Europe.”
The 2022 Ballon d’Or winner spent the majority of his career at Real Madrid (Spain), where he cemented his place in the club’s history with 354 goals and 165 assists in 648 games. He’s second all-time in goals scored, passing club legend Raul 안전놀이터 Gonzalez, and first in assists. He went on to lift a total of 25 trophies, including five UEFA Champions League (UCL) titles. This is tied for first in club history.
Meanwhile, Benzema was reportedly given an automatic contract extension with Real after winning the Ballon d’Or in 2022, but he is reportedly up for a new challenge. According to 90min the day before, Benzema said he “wanted to retire from Real” but added: “Sometimes life gives you new opportunities. I will always be part of the Real family.”
The club also paid tribute to the departing Benzema, saying, “His behavior and professionalism were exemplary and represented our values. And now Benzema has earned the right to decide his own future,” the club said, thanking the legend.
Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia has continued its aggressive investment in the sport, having previously landed Cristiano Ronaldo (Al Nasr) and now Benzema. Fans are eager to see which star will be the next to join them.