After 14 years of glory at Real Madrid, Karim Benzema will depart the club at the end of this season, the Spanish giants announced on Sunday morning.
According to state media reports, the 35-year-old has agreed to join Al-Ittihad, the reigning champions of the Saudi Pro League, coached by former Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo. He will sign a two-year contract with the Saudi club.
The ex-France international moved to Real from his hometown club Lyon in 2009 and has played 657 times, netting 353 goals.
Benzema has featured in 42 matches in all competitions this season, scoring 30 goals and setting up six more.
He was absent from Real’s 2-1 victory over Sevilla on May 27, but could make his final appearance for the club in their last league game of the season against Athletic Bilbao on Sunday night.
Benzema won four LaLiga titles and five Champions League trophies during his illustrious spell in Madrid.
“Real Madrid CF and our captain Karim Benzema have agreed to end his brilliant and unforgettable period as a player for our club,” Real Madrid said in a statement.
“Real Madrid would like to show its gratitude and affection for who is already one of our greatest legends.
Karim Benzema’s career at Real Madrid has been an example of conduct and professionalism, and he has represented the values of our club. Karim Benzema has earned the right to decide his future.
“Madridistas and all the fans around the world have enjoyed his magical and unique football, which has made him one of the great icons of our club and one of the great legends of world football.
“Real Madrid is and will always be his home, and we wish him and all his family the best in this new phase of his life.
“Next Tuesday, June 6, at 12:00pm, an institutional act of homage and farewell to Karim Benzema will take place at Real Madrid Sport City, which will be attended by our president Florentino Pérez.”
Benzema, 35, is set to join the Saudi Pro League after 14 years at the Bernabeu.
The Times reported this week, before Benzema’s exit was confirmed, that Kane was among their targets to replace the Frenchman if he decided to leave.
Real manager Carlo Ancelotti refused this week to comment on the club’s reported interest in Kane, who is Man Utd’s main target this summer.
“Like I’ve said many times, Harry Kane is a great player and a great player of Tottenham,” said Ancelotti.
“We have to respect the player and Tottenham.”