Watch: Karim Benzema looking forward to Saudi battle with former Real Madrid teammate Cristiano Ronaldo

The Ballon d’Or holder speaks for the first time as an Al Ittihad player

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Karim Benzema (left) and Cristiano Ronaldo. — AFP File
Karim Benzema (left) and Cristiano Ronaldo. — AFP File

Published: Thu 8 Jun 2023, 8:56 PM

They were once teammates but now they will square off as opponents. French star Karim Benzema and Portugues ace Cristiano Ronaldo were teammates at record European champions and record La Liga winners Real Madrid.

The pair, who are good friends, were part of many of Real Madrid's 14 Champions League and 35 La Liga titles during their time together in Spain.

Now, the duo will battle it out against each other with Benzema following in the footsteps of the Portuguese to Saudi Arabia.

Benzema signed for reigning Saudi Pro League champions Al Ittihad during the week after 14 seasons with the Los Blancos, while Ronaldo plays for Al Nassr.

“It’s important also that Cristiano Ronaldo is in Saudi Arabia, because he’s a very big player," Benzema said in his first interview after becoming an Al Ittihad player.

"He brings a lot to the game in this country and that will further elevate their playing level. 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 performing. On the contrary I have to push and show all that I was able to do in Europe and and bring it back with me to Saudi Arabia," he added.

And Benzema hopes to win many titles with his new club.

“I hope for my new club, what I’ll be able to bring is my football and most importantly to be able to win titles. It’s a new chapter for me and I would like to further advance the club. It’s a club with a lot of passion. I would like the fans to find themselves in me. I would like to leave a lasting legacy, because I love football. I always have this competitiveness to push my limits and go even higher. That’s why I’m going to be well prepared to give them and show them my talent.”

Supplied photo
Supplied photo

About the footballing standards of the players in the Saudi Pro League, he said: “I heard a lot of things, it’s a good championship and there are many good players… each year they take go a level higher. I saw the World Cup, they (Saudi Arabia) played a good game, great matches, especially against (eventual World Cup champions) Argentina. Obviously, they have very good players.”

The French star touched down at Jeddah’s King Abdulaziz International Airport late on Wednesday ahead of his official unveiling in Saudi Arabia.


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