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Real Madrid legend Karim Benzema to leave after 14 years

Real Madrid’s talismanic captain Karim Benzema will leave the Bernabeu after 14 years, the Spanish club has confirmed.

Benzema, a former French international, joined the club from Lyon in 2009, and has since appeared 657 times for Real Madrid, scoring 353 goals.

In this season alone he has made 42 appearances, found the net 30 times, and assisted six goals.

It is thought he will appear during Real Madrid’s final league match of the season on Sunday evening against Athletic Bilbao.

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In a statement, Real Madrid said it “would like to show our gratitude and affection to a player who is already one of our greatest legends”.

The club added: “Karim Benzema’s career at Real Madrid has been a shining 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 all over the world alike 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 always will be his home, and we wish him and all his family all the best in this new stage of his life.”

Media reports have linked the Frenchman with a move to Saudi Arabia, where he will apparently join Pro League champions Al-Ittihad – managed by former Premier League boss Nuno Espirito Santo.

He’d be following former Real teammate Cristiano Ronaldo, who joined Al Nassr at the end of 2022 after a turbulent return to Manchester United.

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