SPAIN: Karim Benzema found the back of the net in Real Madrid’s 1-1 draw against Athletic Bilbao in what turned out to be his second-to-last match before departing the club as a free agent. The prolific striker enjoyed a remarkable 14-year tenure with Real, but there was still room for one final farewell.
Bilbao took the lead in the 49th-minute courtesy of Oihan Sancet after Thibaut Courtois made a crucial save to deny Mikel Vesga’s penalty shot. However, Real was granted a penalty kick in the 72nd minute when Éder Militão was elbowed in the face by Yuri Berchiche. Benzema exhibited composure as he calmly converted the spot-kick, prompting a standing ovation from the enthusiastic crowd.
The 35-year-old Frenchman was compelled to reassess his plans after receiving an enticing offer from a Saudi Arabian club, amounting to over €100 million. Consequently, he decided to waive his one-year contract extension clause, which he had initially chosen to activate following a challenging 2022-23 season marred by injuries and his absence from France’s World Cup campaign in Qatar.
Karim Benzema, a prominent French forward who had an illustrious stint at Real Madrid, jointly holds the record for the most major titles won in the club’s history, with a remarkable tally of 25 victories.
Throughout his tenure, he has exemplified exceptional conduct and professionalism, rightfully earning the privilege to shape his own destiny. His captivating and distinctive style of play has elevated him to the status of a legendary figure within the club and in the realm of global football.
Carlo Ancelotti, the esteemed manager of Real Madrid, also declared his departure from the club after a successful four-year tenure. Having conducted his usual training session yesterday, he concluded to step down from his position today.
Ancelotti gracefully accepted the decision, expressing pride in having coached one of the world’s finest players and forwards. He described Benzema as a gentle, modest, and serious individual, who embodies these qualities both on and off the pitch. Ancelotti himself is widely regarded as a distinguished figure in the football world, known for his impeccable character and professionalism.