Benzema and the Saudi League… Mecca and “Itti and Bahr” opened the door to negotiations
After officially announcing the departure of Karim Benzema from Real Madrid, after 14 years among his ranks, anticipation began about the next step for the French star, as well as his former rival in Barcelona, Lionel Messi, who was said to have become very close to the slogan of Al Hilal club, after bidding farewell to Paris Saint-Germain. .
Returning to Benzema’s destination; There has become a consensus in the international press that it will be towards the Saudi League, specifically the Al-Ittihad shirt, the “Professional League Champion”, who will represent the Kingdom in the upcoming FIFA Club World Cup later this year.
The British newspaper “Daily Star” indicated that the duration of the contract will be two seasons, compared to about 200 million euros per season (172 million pounds sterling), meaning that the full value of the contract will be 400 million euros (345 million pounds sterling), equal to what the star receives. The Portuguese Cristiano Ronaldo is also in the Saudi club Al-Nasr.
The newspaper also referred to the recent statements of the Portuguese star, in which he welcomed criticism from international players for the Saudi stadiums, stressing that this will certainly lead to an increase in competition and the strengthening of the competition.
As for the “Sky Sports” network, it published the text of the farewell speech in which Real Madrid announced the end of Benzema’s career with the team, as the Madrid statement said: “Real Madrid would like to show its gratitude and affection for who is already one of our greatest legends. Karim Benzema’s career at Real Madrid was an example of professionalism and strength, and he represented the values of our club. Karim Benzema has earned the right to decide his own future.
The network indicated that Real Madrid will hold a farewell press conference for Benzema next Tuesday at twelve o’clock in the afternoon at the club’s headquarters, in the presence of President Florentino Perez.
The “Sky Sports” network also started talking about the possible successor to Benzema to lead the Real attack, and put forward the name of the English striker Harry Kane, the English striker of the Tottenham team, and also published the statements of the coach of the royal team, Carlo Ancelotti, in which he expressed his admiration for the player, and if he indicated the need to respect His contract with the Spurs.
On the other hand, “Sports Bible” stated that the Saudi club Al Hilal is also preparing to announce the contract with Argentine star Lionel Messi, with a record contract amounting to 400 million euros (345 million pounds sterling) annually, twice what Cristiano Ronaldo receives with Al-Nasr team, And that the expected announcement of the deal will take place during this week, as expectations indicate that the announcement will take place on Tuesday, as Messi does not want to be the talk of the transfer market throughout the summer, and he is interested in ending things quickly. In preparing in the best way possible for the Club World Cup, later this year, representing the host country (Saudi Arabia) in the tournament that will be organized in the capital (Riyadh), from 12 to 22 December next.
Anmar Al-Haili, President of the Federation and his deputy, Ahmed Kaaki, are in the capital, Madrid, to settle the signing with Benzema, who was crowned with the Golden Ball (Balloon d’Or) in October last year, after a historic season with Real Madrid.
The current sports season witnessed the brilliance of the 35-year-old French star with Real. By scoring 30 goals and assisting 6 goals in 42 matches he played in the Spanish club shirt, with which he won the King’s Cup of Spain, and before that the Club World Championship that was held in Morocco.
At a time when the 2021-2022 season is the most beautiful period in the career of the French star with Real Madrid, by winning the title of best player in the world, after achieving the European Champions Cup and the Spanish “La Liga”, in addition to the “European Super” championship, amidst the remarkable brilliance of the player by scoring 44 goals. , including a hat-trick against Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League, and a goal away from home against Chelsea in the quarter-finals, before scoring two more goals in the semi-finals against Manchester City, in addition to making 15 goals in 46 matches he played in the Real shirt in all competitions.
Benzema missed participating with the French national team in the World Cup, which was held in Qatar, due to injury, before announcing his retirement from international football on his 35th birthday, one day after France lost the 2022 World Championship title to Argentina.
Benzema joined the Spanish club, nicknamed Royal, in 2009, at the age of 21, and crowned him with 25 titles (5 European Cups, 5 Club World Cups, 4 European Super Cups, 4 League Championships, 3 King’s Cups of Spain and 4 Spanish Super Cups).
Benzema played 800 matches in the Real Madrid shirt, scoring 419 goals and 192 assists. While only Portuguese Cristiano Ronaldo surpassed him in scoring goals in the Real Madrid shirt.
Lined messages that preceded the official negotiationsInformed sources indicated to Asharq Al-Awsat that the story of Benzema and Al-Ittihad began nearly 6 months ago, specifically at the end of 2022, when there were doubts about Benzema’s continuation with his club, at that time the federations began attempts with the player, after that it reached The news that the Frenchman Benzema is close to renewing with his Spanish club, prompted the management of the Al-Jeddawi club to accelerate the renewal of the contract of its current striker, Moroccan Abdel-Razzak Hamdallah, for a period of two seasons.
Al-Ittihad Club, despite the renewal of its attacker’s contract, launched a major campaign to persuade Benzema to come to Jeddah first, then Al-Ittihad Club. Away from the material aspects, the player was tempted by several temptations, including Jeddah’s proximity to the Two Holy Mosques; Being a Muslim, and also being a coastal city on the Red Sea.
As for the masses, the “Ramadan Kareem” tifo was one of the tifos that the club was very keen on in order to fully show the Al-Ittihad stadium to the world, and there was also a hint at the time about the reality of negotiations with Karim Benzema through the phrase “Ramadan Kareem”, where he touched the club from During the tifo feelings of the French player; Raising his name in the stands.
The Al-Ittihad administration also sent the player’s agents many video clips of Al-Jawhara Stadium, the place where Al-Ittihad plays its matches, and the noisy atmosphere created by the fans inside the stadium.
Athletically, the Al-Ittihad project was the most attractive to the French, as Al-Ittihad is the champion of the “Roshen Saudi Professional League”, and it will participate in the “Club World Cup” at the end of the current calendar year, in addition to being the Saudi Super Champion. The first football club in the club after the players who left the ranks of the team, as it was only confirmed the departure of the Angolan Helder Costa, after the end of the loan period, and the administration preferred not to buy his contract, as that was a possible option, and an available item that the administration put in place when he was contracted, last summer.
As for the Moroccan striker Abd al-Razzaq Hamdallah, his position will be determined based on the report submitted by Portuguese coach Nuno Santo. Despite the remaining two seasons in the player’s contract, the arrival of international star Karim Benzema may upset the balance within the team.