Real Madrid held a press conference in Karim Benzema’s honor on Tuesday to pay tribute to their departing captain after a glorious 14 years.
Real Madrid’s President, Florentino Perez, organized a heartfelt farewell ceremony to pay tribute to the team’s beloved captain, Karim Benzema. The ceremony occurred on Tuesday morning and was a touching homage to the player.
Head coach Carlo Ancelotti and Benzema’s teammates – including Luka Modric, Lucas Vazquez, and Thibaut Courtois – were all in attendance as the club said goodbye to one of its greatest players of all time.
After a video highlighting moments of Benzema’s career, Perez addressed the crowd. The president praised the Frenchman for his 14 years of service, before the man himself took to the stage with a moving speech of his own.
You can see the full press conference here 👇
What did Karim Benzema say?
“It’s difficult to speak with so many emotions, but I want to say thank you to Real Madrid,” Benzema told the crowd.
“This has been such an important part of my life. I was lucky enough to fulfill my childhood dream thanks to the president, who wanted me. I remember feeling so proud when the president, who signed [Zinedine] Zidane and Ronaldo [Nazario] wanted me. I got to join the best club in history.
“It’s a sad day today because I’m going to leave this club, and that hurts because I wanted to finish my career in Madrid. But life sometimes presents other opportunities.
“Real Madrid will always be like my family, and I will always watch Real Madrid matches. Thank you also to the fans, who pushed me to play at my best and to have the strength and mentality I have today.”
The Ballon d’Or holder closed off his speech by adding: “As I said the first day, 1, 2, 3… Hala Madrid!”
What did Florentino Perez say?
Before Benzema spoke in the press conference, Florentino Perez gave his own farewell speech to the 35-year-old striker.
“Dear Karim, 14 years ago you arrived at Real Madrid and you have become one of the best players of all time,” the president said.
“You are one of the symbols of this club, one of our greatest legends.
“You have managed to move all of us who love football. You are a different footballer and it is true that some took time to understand you.
“Today is a very difficult day for me. Some took a while to understand you, but you were always a different player. Benzema leaves Real Madrid with the love of the whole world. You are one of the chosen ones.”
With his time in Spain over, Benzema is expected to join Saudi Arabian champions Al-Ittihad this summer.