Madrid, June 4 (IANS) Karim Benzema will leave Real Madrid after 14 years at the end of the season, the Spanish club confirmed on Sunday.
The former France international joined Spanish giants from hometown club Lyon in 2009 and has made 657 appearances, scoring 353 goals.
Benzema has played 42 times in all competitions this term, scoring 30 goals and assisting six more. He did not feature in Real Madrid’s 2-1 win over Sevilla on May 27 but could feature for one final time in their final league match of the season against Athletic Bilbao on Sunday night.
The 35-year-old won five Champions Leagues and four La Liga titles with Madrid. Overall, he won a total of 25 major titles with Real Madrid, a record for the club.
“Real Madrid CF and our captain Karim Benzema have agreed to end his brilliant and unforgettable period as a player for our club. Real Madrid would like to show its gratitude and affection for who is already one of our greatest legends,” the Spanish club said in a statement.
“Karim Benzema’s career at Real Madrid has been an example of conduct and professionalism, and he has represented the values of our club. Karim Benzema has earned the right to decide his future.
“Madridistas and all the fans around the world have enjoyed his magical and unique football, which has made him one of the great icons of our club and one of the great legends of world football. Real Madrid is and will always be his home, and he wishes him and all his family the best in this new phase of his life,” it added.
An institutional act of homage and farewell to Karim Benzema will take place at Real Madrid Sport City on June 6 and it will be attended by club president Florentino Perez.
The Ballon d’Or-winning striker Benzema is the third first-team player confirmed to be leaving Madrid in two days after it was announced on Saturday that both Eden Hazard and Marco Asensio will also depart this summer.
According to reports, Benzema is expected to move to the Saudi Pro League after 14 years at the Bernabeu.