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Karim Benzema Reveals His Retirement Desire During Real Madrid Farewell
- Karim Benzema leaves Real Madrid after 14 years with the club
- Benzema became the club’s second-top scorer during his time there
- The French forward is set to join Al-Ittihad on a free transfer
Real Madrid bade farewell to Karim Benzema for the final time on Tuesday afternoon, as the French striker brought to a close his 14-year stint at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium.
After playing his final game on Sunday, and scoring in a 1-1 draw against Athletic Club, Benzema was sent forth by Florentino Perez during an event attended by a variety of the Real Madrid hierarchy.
Perez thanked him for his commitment over his career, noting that Benzema arrived at Real Madrid ‘basically as a kid’, and leaves the club as a legend.
“You’re already eternal,” Perez said of Benzema, even showing a little more emotion for him than he usually allows. The pair have been close since Benzema arrived in 2009.
Benzema did not have a lengthy goodbye planned and took a matter of minutes to thank those involved.
“Thank you very much to Real Madrid. It was a good journey in my life. I have been lucky to fulfil my dream as a child thanks to the president.
“When I saw you, I said 'He is the man who has brought Ronaldo and Zidane. He is incredible.'
“Today it’s time to go and see another story. The most important thing for me is that everything I have won and I have enjoyed like a kid. As I said in my presentation ‘one, two and three, Hala Madrid!’”
Benzema’s retirement admission
Benzema did note that he had originally intended to retire at the Bernabeu, but that another opportunity has caught his eye.
“Thanks also to Ancelotti, who gave me his confidence from the beginning. I’ve learned a lot with you. It’s a bit sad because I’m leaving my club.
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“I signed for Madrid and I wanted to retire here, but it hasn’t been like that. I will always be a Madrid fan. Thanks also to the fans for always giving me that strength. Thank you all, truly.”
As reported by Goal, Benzema is headed to Al-Ittihad in Saudi Arabia, where there are hundreds of millions on offer for him.
Either way, he leaves Real Madrid as one of their greatest-ever forwards. He leaves the club as their second-top scorer, and with a place in the hearts of many Madridistas. According to reports from Relevo, the French striker is set to be replaced by Tottenham Hotspur's Harry Kane.
Real Madrid elect new captain
As reported by Sports Brief, Nacho Fernandez will be Real Madrid's new captain following the departure of Karim Benzema.
The 33-year-old has been with Los Blancos since his youth and was due to become a free agent at the end of June.