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Benzema to leave Real Madrid after 14 years 

Karim Benzema is to leave Real Madrid after 14 years at the club.

The Ballon d’Or-winning striker, who joined the Spanish giants from Lyon in 2009, will leave on a free transfer when the season ends.

Benzema, who had a year left on his contract, is set to move to Saudi Arabia after receiving a “record offer” from Al-Ittihad, according to Spanish football journalist Guillem Balague.

Benzema, 35, won five Champions Leagues and four La Liga titles with Madrid.

Saudi state-run Al Ekhbariya television station reported yesterday that Benzema will sign a two-year deal with Al-Ittihad.

Real boss Carlo Ancelotti had said on Saturday that he expected the former French international to stay next season.

“Benzema as been an example of behaviour and professionalism, and has represented the values of our club,” Madrid said in a statement yesterday. “He has earned the right to decide his future.”

He 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 leave this summer.

The Frenchman won 25 major titles with Real Madrid, a record for the club.

Benzema is the Ballon d’Or holder, having guided Madrid to the Champions League title last season with 15 goals in the competition.

Also among his titles were five Club World Cups and three Copa del Rey triumphs.

Benzema, who has made 647 appearances for Madrid, is the second on their all-time goalscoring list with 353 – only Cristiano Ronaldo has more.

With a number of key players leaving, Real will need to bring in a new striker.

Balague says Spanish striker Joselu could join on loan from Espanyol, while Ancelotti is a fan of Tottenham striker Harry Kane. Real are also planning on a move for Paris St-Germain forward Kylian Mbappe next summer.

Speaking on Saturday, Ancelotti said: “Kane is a great player, he is from Tottenham and we have to respect both the player and the club.” – BBC.

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