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Benzema, in his farewell: "I wanted to finish at Madrid, but in life sometimes there is another opportunity"


Highlights: Karim Benzema leaves Real Madrid for Saudi Arabia. President Florentino Pérez says goodbye to "one of the most incredible footballers" in the club's history. PÉrez and Benzema began as a misunderstood love story. "Thank you for this love story that we have together and that is eternal," says Pérerez of Benzema's 14-year stay at the Bernabeu. "You have earned the right to decide your destiny, a future that belongs to you alone. And we must accept and respect it," he adds.

The Frenchman says goodbye in an emotional act in which Florentino Pérez describes him as "one of the most incredible footballers" in the history of the club

When Karim Benzema finally spoke of his departure on Tuesday, two days after the official announcement published by the club, his farewell, an intimate act closed to the media in Valdebebas, contained many features of painful rupture, although inevitable: "I do not have many words, because it is a little sad day, because I am going to leave this club ... And it hurts me, because, as I said before, I had a dream in my head, to sign with Madrid, and I wanted to end up at Madrid, but in life sometimes there is another opportunity," he said, referring to Saudi Arabia's succulent offer to play for Jeddah's Al Ittihad.

Not just any relationship was breaking up. Both the footballer and Florentino Pérez, recalled the beginnings of the courtship, a gesture that the president of Real Madrid had not felt pushed to do with other signings. Nostalgia assailed Benzema: "A long time ago... He was just 21 years old. He went to my house, with my parents. And when I saw you, I said: 'He is the man who has brought Zizou, Ronaldo, and now he wants me in his team,'" he recalled. "Thank you very much for that. I'll never forget Real Madrid, because it's impossible. Because it's the best club in the world, in history. There is no more. But I think today is the time to leave and see another story."

The moment was not easy for Pérez, the first to speak at the event: "Today is a very difficult day for me, it is a day in which memories and emotions come to mind." He was saying goodbye to a footballer he fell in love with from the beginning, in which he saw a mix between Ronaldo and Zidane, the two players Benzema thought of when he met him in 2009 at home. He also said goodbye to a boy whom he always felt "like a son."

In addition, looking back, Pérez has seen that that romance went quite well: "Today not one more player leaves. Today we say goodbye to one of the most incredible footballers in our history." The president spoke of the general grief for the moment: "Since the announcement of the farewell of Karim Benzema on Sunday, I have seen a sense of sadness in the fans who have been moved by the magic of a unique player," he said. And as in the inevitable separations, he immediately returned to happy times: "To all I want to say that this is the moment to remember the enormous fortune we have had to enjoy your football these 14 years. We've seen you do amazing things, and that's something we'll never forget," he said. "You have managed to excite all of us who love football. You have been a different footballer, and there are many who have been slow to understand you."

Because it was like this: Florentino Pérez and Karim Benzema began as a misunderstood love story. But 14 years after that visit to Bron's family home, the legacy remains indisputable. The player with the most titles in the history of the club (25), the second top scorer and the last Ballon d'Or, after the incredible European Cup of comebacks, leaves: "With your leadership, your attitude and your football, we achieved a unique feat in history and that will be remembered eternally".

After those amazing nights at the Bernabeu, the Frenchman's performance declined somewhat this season. He had one year left on his contract, but Madrid decided to facilitate his departure to Arabia without asking for a transfer in return. "You have earned the right to decide your destiny, a future that belongs to you alone. And we must accept and respect it," Perez explained.

There were no tears, but both the footballer and the president seemed very moved at times: "Thank you for this love story that we have lived together and that is undoubtedly eternal," said Pérez.

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Source: elparis

All sports articles on 2023-06-06

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