Ballon D’Or Winner Karim Benzema Signs For Saudi Arabia’s Al-Ittihad


Karim Benzema, the winner of the Ballon d’Or, joined Al Ittihad as a free agent on Tuesday following his exit from Real Madrid, becoming the latest star player to travel to Saudi Arabia.

Benzema joins the Saudi Arabian champions on a 3-year agreement and will wear the number 9 jersey after ending a trophy-laden 14 years at Real.

“I am excited to experience a new football league in a different country. I have been fortunate to achieve amazing things in my career and achieve everything I can in Spain and Europe,” Benzema said.

“It now feels the time is right for a new challenge and project … I am looking forward to joining my new teammates and, together with them, help take this amazing club and the game in Saudi Arabia to new levels.”

After Cristiano Ronaldo signed a two-and-a-half-year deal with Al Nassr in December, estimated by the media to be worth more than 200 million euros ($213.78 million), Benzema followed his old Real teammate to the Gulf nation.

After Ronaldo left Real to join Juventus in 2018, Benzema, who had previously played for Olympique Lyonnais, took over as the club’s attack and won the Champions League 5 times and LaLiga 5 times.

He had his greatest season with Real in 2021-22, scoring 44 goals in all competitions to help the club win a record-extending 14th European championship as well as LaLiga.