With reports of an imminent departure gathering pace in the last few days, Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema’s public reaction was eagerly anticipated, with the Ballon d’Or winner potentially leaving the Spanish capital after fourteen seasons.
Speaking at an event at which he was awarded the Marca Leyenda prize honouring his career as a whole, the Frenchman spoke to the Spanish outlet about the reports. The former Lyon man, ostensibly remained ambiguous about his long-term future:
“Why should I talk about the future? I’m at Real Madrid. Reality is not the same as what is said on the internet.”
The 35-year-old is said to have received a lucrative offer from Saudi Arabian champions Al-Ittihad, and could become the latest major player to be won over by the Gulf state’s investment into its domestic league after Cristiano Ronaldo joined midway through the season.
The five-time Champions League winner recently renewed his contract for another year, but is reportedly interested in the move, which has prompted discussions with the Madrid hierarchy. With 353 goals in 647 games, he is currently Los Blancos’ second-highest goal scorer of all time, only behind Ronaldo himself. Despite rumours of an imminent departure, he ended the award presentation with a message to Real Madrid fans – “Un, dos, tres… Hala Madrid!”. It may well have been the last time he exclaims the famous chant in the Spanish capital.
GFFN | Raphaël Jucobin