Karim Benzema Unhappy in Saudi Arabia, Wants to Return to Europe

Karim Benzema with Real Madrid
Karim Benzema with Real Madrid in 2019. Photo by Manu Reino/MARINA PRESS/REX/Shutterstock (10215860ab)

French star striker Karim Benzema is reportedly unhappy in Saudi Arabia and wants to return to Europe. Benzema joined Saudi Pro League side Al Ittihad in the summer, signing a lucrative deal that made him one of the highest-paid players in soccer.

According to ESPN, Benzema made Al Ittihad aware of how he feels, but the club is currently unwilling to sanction a move. The 36-year-old player has been Al Ittihad’s best player this season, scoring 12 goals and adding five assists in 20 matches in all competitions.

One reason why Benzema might be disillusioned by life in Saudi Arabia is Al Ittihad’s poor form in 2023-24, which sees them sitting seventh in the standings and trailing 25 points behind leaders Al-Hilal. Benzema is also frequently the subject of criticism for the club’s underachieving campaign, with fans and media believing he should do more.

Reports indicate that several Premier League clubs have already shown interest in Benzema if Al Ittihad changes its mind about letting him go. Chelsea is considered to be particularly motivated to bring in Benzema, considering their attacking struggles.

Benzema wouldn’t be the first star player to leave Saudi Arabia in the January transfer window. England international midfielder Jordan Henderson recently forced a move from Al-Ettifaq and is expected to join Eredivisie side Ajax.