on tuesday, Athletic reported that Benzema, 35, had received a lucrative offer from Saudi Arabia with Madrid aware of that proposal and the Frenchman’s decision to leave for a few days.
Several sources at Madrid’s Valdebebas training ground – who asked not to be named to protect their status – said the forward and head coach Carlo Ancelotti held a meeting on Wednesday that was not considered routine or part of the team’s schedule.
Those sources said they all expected Benzema to leave after that meeting unless the board could change its mind.
Madrid have not stood in the way of Benzema despite renewing his contract until June 2024 earlier this year.
Benzema’s teammates in Madrid knew that he had been tempted by the offer from Saudi Arabia for several weeks and he has also asked one of the club’s physiotherapists to accompany him there.
Benzema joined from Lyon for an initial £30m in 2009 and is Madrid’s second all-time top scorer with 353 goals in 647 games — just behind. Cristiano Ronaldo who has 450 goals in 438 games.
He won his first Ballon d’Or last year and has lifted 24 titles in his time at the club, including four. La Liga titles and five Champions League trophies.
Benzema scored a career-best 44 goals in 46 games to lead Real to a La Liga double last season but has struggled with muscle problems this campaign.
The Frenchman receives a hero’s sending-off in Madrid’s final game of the season against Athletic Bilbao at the Bernabeu on Sunday (5.30pm BST kick-off).
‘You’re not the worst journalist I’ve ever seen’: Can our writer match Benzema’s training routine?
(Photo: Getty Images)
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