‘Speak about what?’: Karim Benzema DENIES report he was set to announce his Real Madrid departure on Thursday as he mulls over £345m offer to play in Saudi Arabia
- Karim Benzema was rumoured to announce his Real Madrid departure today
- The prolific striker has been strongly linked with a summer move to Saudi Arabia
- However, he has denied reports and remains mulling over the mega-money offer
Karim Benzema has broken his silence on speculation tipping him to leave Real Madrid and move to Saudi Arabia in a £345million deal by denying a report claiming he would announce his departure at a press conference today.
Multiple publications have claimed the striker has decided to leave the Bernabeu after a glittering 14-year spell and head for an eye-watering payday in the Middle East, and one outlet went as far as saying he would confirm his exit imminently.
However, when asked to discuss the rumours, veteran Benzema fired back and insisted that, at least for ‘the moment’, he remains on the books at Madrid.
‘Speak about what? Why speaking of the future if I’m in Madrid… Who’s speaking is internet, and reality is not internet,’ he said.
He then added: ‘At the moment, I’m here… we have a game on Sunday. I know how much Real Madrid fans love me. I feel that when I’m on the pitch.
Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema has denied a report he was set to announce his departure
Asked to address the links to Saudi Arabia, the frontman insisted ‘reality is not the internet’
Benzema could still join former team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo in the Saudi Pro League, however
‘I give my best for them, always. I always say that we play with 11 on the pitch but also with crucial factor, Real Madrid fans.’
Regardless of whether he does decide to leave, Benzema will be immortalised as one of Madrid’s greatest players of all time after scoring 353 goals in 647 appearances. He has also won countless trophies, including a record five Champions Leagues.
Earlier this week, reports said a package worth almost £350m across two years was tabled by an unnamed club. ESPN then identified the club he was expected to join as Al Ittihad, although it is not currently known whether he will indeed quit.
Benzema may even have played his final game for the club after signing off for the season in a post on Instagram, having sustained a nasty gash on his foot. It remains to be seen whether he will be fit enough to face Athletic Bilbao on Sunday.
Reports in Spain initially suggested Benzema, whose contract runs down this summer, was likely to commit his future to Madrid and sign a new one-year deal. However, concern has mounted with the ace refusing to provide long-term clarity.
It cannot be ruled out, therefore, that he joins Cristiano Ronaldo in Saudi Arabia.
Should the talk of Benzema being awarded a staggering £345m deal prove correct, the terms would effectively match Ronaldo’s £173m-per-year deal at Al-Nassr.
It was also claimed that the signing of Benzema would aid the country’s strategy of landing the 2030 World Cup, for which the frontman may become an ambassador.
Benzema is one of the most successful players in Madrid’s history, with 24 pieces of silverware
The ace enjoyed the best year of his career in 2022 – leading to him receiving the Ballon d’Or
Benzema has scored 353 goals for Real Madrid since joining from Lyon in 2009 (pictured)
Earlier this month, Carlo Ancelotti said Madrid would be looking to sign a new striker in anticipation of Benzema’s departure, with his age being a crucial factor.
Benzema is among a host of names, including Lionel Messi, Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba, to be linked with a move to the Saudi Pro League this summer.
Ronaldo was the first big-name player to make the move late last year and he has been making waves in the Gulf nation, albeit without clinching silverware.
Al-Nassr finished second in the league during his first season, but this did not stop Ronaldo from hailing the future possibilities of the top-flight in the country.
Ronaldo said: ‘The Saudi league is getting better, next year will be even better.
‘Step by step, I think, this league will be in the top five leagues in the world but they need time, they need players, they need infrastructure.
‘But I believe this country has amazing potential. They have amazing people and the league will be great in my opinion.’
Benzema joined Madrid from Lyon in 2009, originally to compete with Gonzalo Higuain for a place.
He enjoyed the best season of his career last year, scoring 44 goals as Los Blancos clinched both the LaLiga title and the Champions League by beating Liverpool. This led to him receiving the Ballon d’Or gong for the first time in his career.
The veteran has also won four LaLiga titles and five Champions League trophies with Madrid
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