regular-article-logo Saturday, 23 September 2023

Karim Benzema fever hits Jeddah ahead of Al-Ittihad presentation

France striker and Ballon d’Or winner signs a three-season contract with Saudi Pro League club on Tuesday for a total of $165 million, according to local media

Reuters Jeddah Published 09.06.23, 06:01 AM
Karim Benzema.

Karim Benzema. File photo

Saudi champions Al Ittihad sold more than 56,000 tickets for Karim Benzema’s presentation at Jeddah’s King Abdullah Sports City Stadium in only a few hours after sales were announced on Wednesday.

The France striker and Ballon d’Or winner signed a three-season contract with the Saudi Pro League club on Tuesday for a total of $165 million, according to local media.


Tickets for Thursday’s presentation of the former Real Madrid captain later at the 62,000-seat arena, known locally as ‘The Shining Jewel’, started from just $2.40.

A large number of supporters wearing the club’s yellow and black colours greeted Benzema upon his arrival on Wednesday night.

Benzema, 35, was Al Ittihad’s first signing since winning the league title for the first time since 2009 with compatriot N’Golo Kante expected to join him from Chelsea soon.

Cristiano Ronaldo blazed the trail in the Saudi Pro League by signing a lucrative contract with Al Nassr in December.

“Cristiano is my friend and it’ll be great to see him here,” Benzema said at a news conference on Thursday.

Saudi clubs are targeting other big names in the coming months with the likes of Sergio Busquets, Angel Di Maria, Jordi Alba and Sergio Ramos being linked with moves to the desert kingdom in local media.

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