‘Reality not the internet’: Benzema coy on Real Madrid future amid talk of Saudi move

Striker has enjoyed 14 trophy-laden years in Spain but reports suggest he will follow former Los Blancos teammate Cristiano Ronaldo to the kingdom next season.

Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema says his focus is on the final match of the season, against Athletic Bilbao. AP



Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema refused to be drawn on his future, telling reporters “reality is not the internet” in response to rumours of a lucrative move to Saudi Arabia.

Benzema, 35, has enjoyed 14 trophy laden years in Spain but reports this week suggest he will follow former Real Madrid teammate Cristiano Ronaldo to the kingdom next season.

“Why am I going to talk about the future if I am in Madrid?” asked the Frenchman during an awards ceremony held by Marca.

“The thing that is talking is the internet and reality is not the internet.”

The former Lyon striker have been linked with a move to recently anointed Saudi Pro League champions Al Ittihad, who secured the title ahead of Ronaldo’s Al Nassr with a match to spare.

Saudi football is set for a major summer, with a number of prominent stars anticipated to land in the Pro League. There is growing confidence Lionel Messi, Argentina’s World Cup-winning captain, will make the move to record 18-time champions Hilal once his contract expires at Paris Saint-Germain.

Sergio Busquets, Jordi Alba, Angel Di Maria, N’Golo Kante and Sadio Mane are among other names linked with Saudi Arabia.

Benzema, the reigning Ballon d’Or and one of Real Madrid’s most decorated players having won five Champions Leagues and four La Liga titles. He is the club’s second highest scorer with 353 goals.

The former France international still has a year left on his contract at the Bernabeu but reports in Spain and the Gulf said Ittihad are prepared to offer him a bumper €200 million ($215m) two-year contract.

“For now I’m here,” said Benzema, who has won 25 titles in his time at Real Madrid. “Tomorrow, I go training, I enjoy every day and on Sunday I have a game.

“I’m very proud of my work and I enjoy every training session, every game and the most important thing is to enjoy.

“When I go to Valdebebas, it’s not work for me because the day it’s work, I won’t want to do it any more.

“I enjoy football like children do and in my head, I’m still a child.”

Real Madrid end their season on Sunday at home to Athletic Bilbao knowing victory will secure them second place in La Liga ahead of city rivals Atletico.

Carlo Ancelotti’s team have endured a disappointing season by their standards, surrendering La Liga to Barcelona and the Champions League following their elimination to Manchester City in the semi-finals.

Real will not end the season trophyless though after beating Osasuna in last month’s Copa del Rey final


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