Speaking to Onda Cero (h/t Fabrizio Romano) after the Ballon d’Or ceremony in France on Monday night, Real Madrid superstar Karim Benzema has confirmed that he will retire at the Spanish capital club.
The 34-year-old made history as he won the Ballon d’Or 2022 Award on Monday, after having spearheaded Real Madrid’s La Liga and UEFA Champions League success last season.
It was a long overdue reward for everything that Benzema has achieved since joining Real Madrid from Olympique Lyon all the way back in 2009.
And now, the French striker, an absolute legend at the club, has confirmed that he will be retiring at Real Madrid only and will not look to join a different club towards the final phase of his career.
“I will retire in Real Madrid. There’s no other option for me,” the 2022 Ballon d’Or winner said.
Benzema’s current contract with Los Blancos expires next year, but a one-year extension is all but confirmed, which will keep him at the Santiago Bernabeu until the summer of 2024, by which point he will be 36 years old.
Whether he will continue beyond that or decide to hang up his boots remains to be seen. What’s certain is that the former Lyon ace does not wish to play for any other club and wants to end his career with Real Madrid.
After winning the Ballon d’Or, Benzema could not hide his joy and delight and said (h/t Eurosport): “Seeing this prize in front of me makes me really proud. It was a childhood dream for me and all the work I have done, I never gave up. I am really proud of my journey here.
“It was not easy, it was a difficult time and also for my family as well. When I was not in the France team I never stopped working hard. To be standing here today for the first time, I am happy for my work and will keep going.”
Benzema has made a rather slow start to the ongoing season but played a key role in Real Madrid’s triumph over Barcelona in Sunday’s El Clasico.
Real Madrid the most likely destination for Kylian Mbappe with Liverpool not pushing for transfer
Journalist Florian Plettenberg has affirmed that despite Liverpool’s continued interest, Real Madrid remain the most realistic destination for Kylian Mbappe either for next year or the year after that.
As far as PSG are concerned, the Ligue 1 champions are totally relaxed over the drama as they are now financially secure for his possible departure. Nonetheless, Liverpool are not at all pushing for the player which leaves Real Madrid as the only team as suitors.
Mbappe has declined an extension offer from PSG, as his current deal is set to expire in 2024 and the 24-year-old forward seems poised to determine his future destination sooner rather than later.
As for Real Madrid, while they have denied holding any talks with the 2018 FIFA World Cup winner, the interest in him has always been there as he remains one of the club’s main targets for 2024.
One last attempt for Mbappe?
Real Madrid have been chasing Mbappe since 2021 and while there have been instances when he almost joined, the move has always failed to materialise for some reason.
Last year, he ended up signing a new contract and this year, as he looked certain to leave PSG, a sudden change of heart saw him stay put. Now, there are going to be some repercussions of his continued ignorance.
These repercussions Mbappe will experience if rejects Madrid once again as it is said that the team from the Spanish capital is fed up with playing this game and if the move fails next summer, the door for Mbappe will be closed forever.
On the contrary, Plettenberg reports that it is not a matter of if for Mbappe, but a matter of when.
So even if they somehow miss out on his acquisition this summer, they will be able to sign him in 2025 as they are currently the only team running for his signature.