Karim Benzema admits the presence of former Real Madrid teammate Cristiano Ronaldo in Saudi Arabia convinced him about signing for Al Ittihad.
Benzema had his signing ceremony yesterday after agreeing a two-year deal. He follows Ronaldo, who joined Al Nassr in January.
“I hope to bring my football to my new club and, above all, to be able to win titles. It’s a club with a lot of passion.” Benzema explained.
“I would like to leave a lasting legacy, because I love football. I always have that competitiveness to push my limits and go even higher. So, I will be well prepared to show them my talent.
“I am a Muslim and it is a Muslim country. I have always wanted to live there. I have already been to Saudi Arabia and I feel good there.” he added.
“The most important thing is that it is a Muslim country, dear and beautiful. When I spoke to my family about my move to Saudi Arabia, they were all very happy and here I am, for me it’s where I want to be.”
He continued: “I’ve heard many things, it’s a good championship and there are many good players… every year they raise the level. I saw the World Cup, Saudi Arabia played very well, great games, especially against Argentina. Obviously, they have very good players.
“It is also important that Cristiano Ronaldo is in Saudi Arabia, because he is a very important player. He brings a lot to football in this country and that will raise his level of play even more.
“So it’s important to show that Saudi football can have a global impact, because it’s not about playing in Saudi Arabia or not.”
His departure from Real Madrid was unexpected, but Karim is clear about why he chose Al-Ittihad.
“It’s one of the best clubs in Saudi Arabia. It is a club that arouses a lot of passion in its fans and has many trophies.” he declared.
“I would very much like to continue to raise the level of the club. The stadium is exceptional and, as I have said and will repeat, there is a lot of passion: a good team always needs fans.
“The fans are very important, and with that passion, it gives us the motivation to be the best on the pitch.