Benzema signs for Saudi Arabia's Al-Ittihad: Club source
According to a source in Al-Ittihad club, Karim Benzema has signed for Saudi Arab for three years starting next season.
Karim Benzema may have just signed a contract with the Saudi Al-Ittihad club for the next three years, according to a source to AFP. Benzema joined Real Madrid from Lyon in 2009.
The source in the club detailed that "Benzema has signed a contract for his transfer to Al-Ittihad for a three-year period starting next season."
On the same day that Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti said there was "no doubt" Benzema's future lay in the Spanish capital, the club announced on Sunday that the 35-year-old was leaving the club after 14 seasons.
If the transfer is approved, Benzema would join former Real Madrid colleague Cristiano Ronaldo in the Gulf country.
Lionel Messi, who is leaving Paris Saint Germain after two seasons, has been linked with a transfer to Saudi Arabia as well.
Sources told AFP Sunday that senior officials from Saudi club Al-Hilal attempted to lure Messi into a deal after his last game on the weekend.
He made 648 games for Real Madrid and has 354 goals to his name, second only to Cristiano Ronaldo.
With Real Madrid, he has won five Champions Leagues, four La Liga crowns, and three Copas del Rey.
After a successful season in 2021-2022 when he received a Ballon d'Or, he sustained injuries that caused him to miss the Qatar 2022 World Cup.
"It hurts me because I had a dream in my head - to sign for Madrid, and finish at Madrid," he expressed to his teammates and club officials during his goodbye ceremony on Tuesday, adding that "sometimes life gives you other opportunities."
A source close to the deals told AFP that Saudi Arabia has a list of soccer superstars it intends on luring into its league. The source noted that names include Real Madrid and Croatia midfielder Luka Modric, Tottenham's Hugo Lloris, and his France teammate N'Golo Kante.
Saudi Arabia aspires to host the world cup in 2030 or 2034 despite accusations of sportswashing to help clean its reputation of human rights abuses.