Karim Benzema “in talks” with Riyadh-based club: will he join Cristiano Ronaldo at Al Nassr?

Karim Benzema’s time with Saudi Pro League club Al Ittihad hasn’t gone according to plan, with the former Real Madrid striker looking for a way out after just a few months in Jeddah. According to L’Équipe, the 36-year-old is in talks with a new team in the Gulf state, with the French newspaper fuelling speculation he could link up once again with Cristiano Ronaldo at Al Nassr.

Benzema and Ronaldo’s Real Madrid success

Benzema and Ronaldo both joined Los Blancos in the summer of 2009 and had a huge amount of success together in the Spanish capital, winning four Champions Leagues and two LaLiga titles among several other trophies. The pair scored 642 goals alongside one another in nine seasons, although many felt the Frenchman did his best work after the Portugal captain left for Juventus in 2018.

With the 2022 Ballon d’Or winner frozen out by Al Ittihad coach Marcelo Gallardo, he has reportedly been allowed to go out on loan for the remainder of the campaign, but only to a club in the Saudi Pro League. L’Équipe claim Benzema has spoken about a potential move with an unnamed club which is based in Riyadh, bringing Al Nassr into the equation.

Al Nassr or Al Hilal? Ronaldo or Neymar?

Of the Saudi Pro League’s 18 teams, four are based in the capital city, although we can probably rule out Al Riyadh and Al Shabab, neither of whom have participated in the Saudi soccer boom in terms of attracting big-name players, or have any realistic chance of success.

That leaves Ronaldo’s Al Nassr, who also have former Liverpool star Sadio Mané in attack, and Al Hilal, who appear to be an equally likely option. A whole host of players have moved to the Saudi Pro League leaders from Europe, including Kalidou Koulibaly, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, Rubén Neves, Aleksandar Mitrovic and, of course, Neymar, who is set to miss the rest of the season with an ACL tear.

Al Hilal hold a seven-point lead over Al Nassr at the top of the Saudi league, which is currently on a midseason break, during which both teams will take on Lionel Messi’s Inter Miami. Could the signing of Benzema tip the balance in favour of either of Riyadh’s big two?


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