KARIM Benzema will leave Real Madrid at the end of this season, the club confirmed today.
The 35-year-old Frenchman spent 15 successful years at the Spanish joints and is reportedly on his way to Saudi Arabia.
“Real Madrid and our captain Karim Benzema have agreed to put an end to his brilliant and unforgettable era as a player at our club,” the club said in an official statement today.
“Madrid want to show their gratitude and all their love to someone who is one of our greatest legends.”
Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti had said yesterday that there was no doubt about Benzema’s future being at the club, noting the forward had one more year left on his contract.
Benzema himself had dismissed reports of his impending departure, insisting ‘not everything you read on the internet is reality’ after it emerged that he could be joining a Saudi club in a big money deal.
The France striker joined Real Madrid in 2009 from Ligue 1 side Lyon and won numerous trophies, including five in the UEFA Champions League.
Overall, Benzema has lifted 24 trophies with Madrid, including four La Liga titles and three Copas del Rey and is the current holder of the Ballon d’Or for the world’s best player.
He is Real Madrid’s second top scorer of all time, with 353 goals, behind only Cristiano Ronaldo on 450.
Benzema’s final appearance for the club will be later today when they host Athletic Bilbao in LaLiga at the Santiago Bernabeu.
The club also confirmed yesterday that Eden Hazard, Marco Asensio and Mariano Diaz were all leaving this summer too as they embark on a clearout following a trophyless campaign.