Cristiano Ronaldo’s reign of terror in the Saudi Arabian league is already in jeopardy after finishing runner-up in the first round.
Karim Benzema officially announced on Sunday that he has joined Saudi Arabian League champions Al Ittihad as a free agent. The contract is for two years, during which he will reportedly receive €400 million ($558.2 million) in salary and vouchers.
Saudi Arabia has been on the hunt for big-name European players since last winter.
First up was Ronaldo. After being released by Manchester United, the kingdom used its deep pockets to pursue the player.
Ronaldo eventually joined Saudi Arabia’s Al Nasr. Ronaldo’s annual salary was €200 million ($280 billion). Add in advertising rights, and the numbers are even more staggering.
Ahead of this summer’s transfer window 메이저사이트, the Saudis are eyeing a number of global stars who are entering their twilight years, including Messi, Luka Modric (Real Madrid), Sergio Busquets (Barcelona), and Sergio Ramos (PSG).
Recently, it was reported that Al-Hilal had made an offer of $600 million for Messi.
Benzema was the second player to leave after Ronaldo. He caused a major shock when he agreed to leave for Saudi Arabia after only two days, despite initially promising to stay.
Benzema was reportedly offered a huge salary in Saudi Arabia. He claimed in his testimonial that he followed his close friend Ronaldo to Saudi Arabia.
At his induction ceremony, Benzema said he was excited about the move, calling it a “great league with a lot of great players”.
“My friend Ronaldo is playing here,” Benzema said. He is the reason why the Saudi league started to succeed,” he said, emphasizing that “I want to win here like I did in Europe.”
Meanwhile, since Ronaldo’s arrival, Al Nasr have struggled and are in second place. With Benzema’s arrival at Al Ittihad, Al Nasr and Ronaldo’s title challenge is likely to be even tougher.