Real Madrid captain Karim Benzema has informed Los Blancos president Florentino Perez that will leave the club when his contract expires at the end of this month.
Benzema will bring the curtain down on a glittering 14-year stay at the Bernabeu and take up a new opportunity in Saudi Arabia with newly crowned Saudi Pro League champions Al-Ittihad.
Benzema has chosen his clubs but has opted for Al-Ittihad, meaning he will line up in the opposite side next season to former Real team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo – Ronaldo joined second-placed Al-Nassr in January in the final league table. .
The contract that 35-year-old Benzema will sign with Al-Ittihad runs until 2025 with a basic annual salary of €100 million, which can be increased by additional bonuses.
Benzema initially agreed but did not sign a new one-year contract with Real. But he later changed his mind and decided to leave Europe altogether, having won five UEFA Champions Leagues, four La Liga titles, three Copa del Reys and 12 other trophies.
90min already reported on Thursday morning that Real have identified Tottenham forward Harry Kane as their first choice to replace Benzema, who first moved to Madrid from Lyon in 2009.
Luka Modrič is another player linked with a summer move to Saudi Arabia. The Croatian is yet to sign the proposed contract extension, but Real sources insist he will remain at the club.