The Karim Benzema story: From being banned from the France national team to winning the Ballon d'OrFootball
Karim Benzema’s Jersey Number at Saudi Club Al Ittihad Revealed
- Karim Benzema's shirt number at Al-Ittihad has been revealed
- Reports suggest that Benzema has finalized a colossal agreement, signing a contract valued at an astonishing £170 million per year
- He received a hero's welcome from the passionate Al-Ittihad fans, who greeted him with ecstatic cheers and screams
Karim Benzema will wear the No. 9 shirt at Al-Ittihad after he was unveiled by the club on Thursday, June 8.
Benzema, who has become synonymous with the coveted shirt number, joined the Saudi champions after bringing an end to his 14-year stint with Real Madrid at the end of the season.
He is the first signing for Al-Ittihad since they pipped Cristiano Ronaldo's Al-Nassr to the Saudi Pro League. According to NDTV, Chelsea's N'Golo Kante, who is Karim's French compatriot, is reportedly going to be the next big signing for the Tigers.
During his grand unveiling, reminiscent of a festive occasion, Benzema's new club revealed the shirt number he will proudly wear. He will don his favourite No. 9 shirt during his three-year stint in the oil-rich nation, GOAL reports.
Benzema displays Ballon d'Or at unveiling
Meanwhile, Benzema showcased his Ballon d'Or prize to the 60,000-capacity crowd gathered at Jeddah’s King Abdullah Sports City Stadium, Sports Brief reported.
During the presentation, the 35-year-old flaunted his Ballon d'Or award at the ceremony.
He is the club's first signing since they won the Saudi top flight and he is likely to be joined by compatriot N'Golo Kante as the Tigers seek to bolster their squad for their upcoming participation in the Asian Champions League and FIFA Club World Cup, which will be hosted by Saudi Arabia.
Benzema explains Saudi move
Earlier, Sports Brief reported that Benzema has disclosed why he chose to move to Saudi Arabia after leaving Real Madrid at the end of the 2022-23 season.
"Don’t think twice. Go for the bag": Benzema told to leave Real Madrid for lucrative move in SaudiFootball
The Frenchman's future in the Middle East looks exceedingly lucrative, as reports suggest he is poised to earn a staggering sum of around €200 million (£172m/$213m) per season. Nevertheless, he was swift to emphasize that his choice to exchange Spain for the oil-rich nation was driven not solely by financial motives.
"Well, because I'm Muslim, and this is a Muslim country, and I have always wanted to live here," he told the club's media.