MADRID - Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema has agreed a deal to end his glittering era at the club, the Spanish side said Sunday.
The forward, 35, has been heavily linked this week with a lucrative move to Saudi Arabia.
"Real Madrid and our captain Karim Benzema have agreed to put an end to his brilliant and unforgettable era as a player at our club," said Los Blancos in a statement.
"Madrid want to show their gratitude and all their love to someone who is one of our greatest legends."
The announcement comes after Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti had said Saturday there was "no doubt" about Benzema's future being at Madrid, noting the forward had one more year left on his contract.
And Benzema himself had said "not everything you read on the internet is reality" after reports emerged in the week about his potential departure to Saudi Arabia, where
The French forward joined Madrid in 2009 from Ligue 1 side Lyon.
Benzema established himself as a key player alongside Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale in the vaunted "BBC" attacking trident, before developing into the team's leader when the Portuguese striker left in 2018.
Benzema has lifted 24 trophies with Madrid, including five Champions Leagues, four La Liga titles and three Copas del Rey and is the current holder of the Ballon d'Or for the world's best player.
He is Real Madrid's second top scorer of all-time, with 353 goals for Madrid, behind only Ronaldo on 450.
Benzema's final appearance for the club could be later today when Madrid host Athletic Bilbao in La Liga at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Madrid confirmed Saturday that Eden Hazard, Marco Asensio and Mariano Diaz are all leaving this summer too, leaving plenty of space for new acquisitions in attack.
Ancelotti avoided talking on Saturday about Madrid's alleged interest in England and Tottenham striker Harry Kane.
"I'm not going to talk about the future of the squad that is in place," said Ancelotti.
"Kane is a great player, he is a Tottenham player, we have to respect the player and Tottenham."