‘It wasn’t about the money’ – Benzema explains why he had to leave Real Madrid

Karim Benzema was offered a contract extension to stay with Real Madrid for at least another year, and the Frenchman was expected to sign the deal.

However, a mouth-watering offer from Saudi Arabia made Benzema change his mind at the death.

Two days after completing his move to Saudi side Al-Ittihad, Karim Benzema has opened up on why he left Real Madrid for Saudi.

In an interview with the club’s official channel to explain the reason for his rather unexpected move to Middle East, Benzema said: “Well, most importantly, [I chose Saudi] because I am Muslim and it’s a Muslim country. It’s beloved and it’s beautiful.

“When I had a conversation with my family I was signing with Saudi Arabia, they were all very happy and here I am. To me it’s where I want to be.

“I feel people already like me. And [living in Saudi] will allow me to have a new life. I would like to learn Arabic and speak fluently, it’s important for me.

“I’ve already been to Saudi Arabia, Mecca is very close. and as a religious person it’s important for me – this is where I will feel at my best and in my element.”