Real Madrid captain Karim Benzema left under the ovation of the Santiago-Bernabeu stadium where he played his last game in the merengue shirt just after scoring a penalty against Athletic Bilbao (his 354th goal with his club), this Sunday on the 38th and last day of the Spanish Championship. The France international equalised in the 72nd minute against the Basques and was replaced two minutes later by Luka Modric, allowing the Madrid crowd to salute one of the best scorers in the club's history.
On his way out, the striker was greeted by his teammates, then by the entire Madrid bench, embracing his coach Carlo Ancelotti. After fourteen years in the mythical white jersey, Benzema will fly at 35 years old to new adventures, probably in Saudi Arabia where, according to Saudi state television, the club of Al-Ittihad makes him a golden bridge. Real Madrid finished second in La Liga, behind Barcelona.
The statistics left behind by Karim Benzema are exceptional. Arriving at the Merengue at the age of 21 from OL, the Frenchman has won in fourteen seasons the trifle of 25 trophies: mainly five Champions Leagues, four Spanish championships and three King's Cups. On a par with Marcelo, Benzema is Real's most successful foreign player, who has seen some of the world's greatest footballers pass through its ranks over the years, Di Stefano, Puskas, Kopa, Cristiano Ronaldo and Zidane.
Benzema, who has continued to progress over the years, finished last season the best of his Madrid season, with 44 goals and 14 assists in 46 games. A season rewarded by the Ballon d'Or 2022 in the form of a culmination. Wearing the captain's armband since 2021, the Frenchman will have played 648 games, scored 354 goals and provided 165 assists.