Karim Benzema calls time on glittering 14-year Real Madrid career


Real Madrid’s most decorated player Karim Benzema is set to leave the club after 14 years.

French striker Benzema, 35, won 25 trophies during his time at Madrid and scored 353 goals in 647 games to become Real’s second-highest scorer behind Cristiano Ronaldo.

“Real Madrid and our captain Karim Benzema have agreed to end his great and unforgettable period as a player for our club,” read a club statement from the Spanish giants.

“Real Madrid would like to show their gratitude and affection to a player who is already one of our greatest legends.

“Karim Benzema’s career at Real Madrid has been a shining example of behavior and professionalism and he has represented the values ​​of our club. Karim Benzema has earned the right to decide his future.

“Madridistas and all fans around the world enjoyed his magical and unique football that made him one of the great icons of our club and one of the great legends of world football.

“Real Madrid is and always will be his home and we wish him and all his family the best in this new phase of his life.”

Benzema, the current Ballon d’Or and UEFA Best Player, joined Real from Lyon in July 2009 for a reported transfer fee of €35 million.

He is fifth on the list of players with the most appearances for Real and his trophy haul in Spain includes five UEFA Champions Leagues, five Club World Cups, four European Super Cups, four LaLiga titles, three Copas del Rey and four Spanish Super Cups.

Benzema has been linked with a move to Saudi Arabian side Al-Ittihad.

Real have confirmed they will hold an “institutional act of tribute and farewell” to Benzema in the Spanish capital on Tuesday, in the presence of club president Florentino Perez.

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