Saturday, September 30, 2023

‘I Am Excited To Experience A New Football League’- How Much Was Karim Benzema Paid By Al Ittihad?

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Ankit Seth
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According to reports, Karim Benzema, the ex-Real Madrid striker, has agreed to a three-year contract with Al Ittihad football club in Saudi Arabia. The club’s announcement followed the recent unveiling of Saudi Arabia’s intention to privatize its major football clubs to boost revenue and draw in renowned players.

‘I am excited to experience a new football league,’ Benzema said after signing with the club for an undisclosed fee.

How Much Will Karim Benzema Earn At Al Ittihad?

The club released a statement without revealing specific terms of the agreement or Karim Benzema’s salary, confirming that he had undergone a medical examination and finalized the signing in Madrid on Monday. However, according to Fabrizio Romano’s tweet, the former Real Madrid star would earn €200 million per season.

According to the club statement, Benzema expressed his enthusiasm for embarking on a new football adventure in a foreign country: “I am excited to experience a new football league in a different country.”

Karim Benzema to Al Ittihad
Real Madrid’s French forward Karim Benzema (C) applauds surrounded by teammates at the end of the Spanish league football match between Real Madrid CF and Athletic Club Bilbao at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on June 4, 2023. (Photo by Pierre-Philippe MARCOU / AFP) (Photo by PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU/AFP via Getty Images)

As the holder of the Ballon d’Or, Benzema acknowledged his successful accomplishments in Spain and Europe, stating, “I have been fortunate to achieve amazing things in my career and fulfil all that I could in Spain and Europe. However, I now feel the time is right for a fresh challenge and a new project.”

Speaking about his new club to Aljazeera, Karim Benzema, the former French international, praised Al Ittihad for its remarkable history, passionate fanbase, and ambitious goals in football. He specifically mentioned their recent achievement of clinching the ninth Saudi League title, expressing their desire to establish themselves as a dominant force in Asia.

Is It Possible For The Saudi Pro League To Replace The Position Of Major League Soccer?

Following last year’s World Cup, Cristiano Ronaldo, the five-time world player of the year, transferred from Manchester United to Al Nassr in the Saudi Pro League. Now Karim Benzema, his former teammate at Real Madrid, joins him in the league.

Describing Benzema’s arrival as the “most significant transfer in the club’s history,” Al Ittihad aims to compete with Al Hilal and Al Nassr, both based in Riyadh, to sign renowned football players.

In a separate development on Monday, the kingdom unveiled its intention to privatize its leading football clubs, including Al Ittihad, enabling investment and takeover opportunities for companies and development agencies.

The objective behind this initiative is to raise the annual revenue of the Saudi Pro League to 1.8 billion riyals ($480 million) by 2030. The landscape of the footballing world could undergo a significant shift if the Saudi Pro League successfully attracts the majority of prominent players who traditionally opted for Major League Soccer (MLS).

MLS has often served as a honeymoon phase for these players while also generating substantial revenue for the league, as exemplified by the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and David Beckham. However, if the Saudi Pro League continues to entice top talents, MLS may experience a decline in viewership and become less captivating.

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