Real Madrid’s Balon d’or winner Karim Benzema has signed for Saudi Arabia’s Al-ittihad for three years starting next season, a source in the Jeddah-based club told newsmen on Tuesday.
Benzema has signed a contract for his transfer to Al-ittihad for a three-year period starting next season,” the Saudi club source said.
According to Benzema, it’s a good league and there are many good players,. “Cristiano Ronaldo is already there, a friend which shows Saudi Arabia is starting to further progress its level. I am here to win, like i did in Europe.
“i have been fortunate to achieve amazing things in my career and achieve everything i can in Spain and Europe. It now feels the time is right for a new challenge and project.”
Al-ittihad is managed by former wolves and Tottenham boss Nuno Espirito santo.
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Lionel Messi, who is leaving Paris saint-Germain after two seasons, has also been linked with a move to Saudi Arabia.
Senior officials from another Saudi Arabian club, Al Hilal, have flown to France to try and seal a deal for Messi after the 35-year-old Argentinean played his last game for PSG at the weekend, two sources with knowledge of the matter told reporters on Sunday.
The Saudi delegation plans to meet Messi’s father and agent, Jorge, with the aiming of completing the signing as soon as possible.
Benzema joined Madrid in 2009 from Ligue 1 side Lyon. He made 648 appearances for Madrid and is second on real’s all-time goal scoring list with 354 — only Ronaldo has more.
Benzema held a goodbye ceremony at real’s training ground on Tuesday.
“it hurts me, because i had a dream in my head – to sign for Madrid, and finish at Madrid,” he told an audience of his teammates and club officials.
“But sometimes life gives you other opportunities,” he added.