Saudi Pro League transfer news: Karim Benzema rubbishes exit rumours

James Shearman
Karim Benzema, Al-Ittihad, Club World Cup, 2023

Karim Benzema has described the media as ‘liars’ for suggesting that he wanted to return to Europe.

Benzema left Real Madrid for Saudi Pro League side Al-Ittihad in the summer.

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There had been several reports that he was not enjoying himself and wanted a move in the January transfer window.

Premier League club Chelsea and Manchester United were linked with the Frenchman, while a return to Madrid was also touted.

However, the former Ballon d’Or winner, who has scored 12 times in 22 matches across all competitions this season, insists that he never considered leaving.

Speaking to reporters, Benzema said: “The story of my departure is not true and I am happy in Saudi Arabia.

I have no problems with [Marcelo] Gallardo, all those who say I want to return to Europe are liars. I am very happy at Al-Ittihad. For my part, I have no problems with anyone.”

Benzema nearly joined Arsenal

According to Luis Suarez, Benzema would have moved to Arsenal had the Uruguayan not bitten Giorgio Chiellini in 2014.

The 37-year-old, who recently joined Lionel Messi at Inter Miami, reckons Arsenal had lined up a move for the forward that summer but events at the World Cup in Brazil changed everything.

Speaking to Del Sol, Suarez revealed that it should have been him – and not Benzema – who signed for Real Madrid.

“Before the 2014 World Cup, Real Madrid wanted to sign me, and everything was on track,” he explained. “They were planning to sell Benzema to Arsenal; it was all done.

“When the World Cup started, Barca joined the race, and obviously I preferred Barca.

“With the bite situation, Madrid lowered their interest, and Barca became more interested… In the end I had both options and I chose Barca because it was my dream.”

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