Real Madrid’s Ballon d’Or winner Karim Benzema has joined Saudi Arabia club Al Ittihad. On a three-year contract, the soccer star is set to earn more than €400 million (over ₹3,500 crore). He also has an option of extending the contract for a further season.
Earlier, it was expected that Lionel Messi, who is leaving Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) after two seasons, will also move to another Saudi Arabian club, Al Hilal. However, on June 8, the 35-year-old Argentine confirmed he plans to join MLS side Inter Miami, snubbing Barcelona and Al-Hilal.
Al Ittihad is the rival club of Benzema’s former Real Madrid teammate and Al Nassr forward Cristiano Ronaldo. Benzema joined Madrid in 2009 from Ligue 1 side Lyon. He made 648 appearances for Madrid and is second on Real’s all-time goalscoring list with 354 after Ronaldo. He has lifted five Champions Leagues, four La Liga titles, and three Copas del Rey with Madrid.
However, after a stellar 2021-22 season when he led Real to Champions League glory and was rewarded with the Ballon d’Or, he was distressed by injuries in the just-completed season and had to miss France’s World Cup campaign in Qatar last year with a thigh problem.