Real Madrid have confirmed that forward Karim Benzema has signed a new deal that will keep him at the club until 2023.
The France forward’s contract was due to expire next summer, but after losing club captain Sergio Ramos to PSG when his deal ran out earlier this year, the club have moved to ensure the same does not happen to Benzema. A release clause of €1bn has been inserted into the deal for the 33-year-old.
After joining in 2009, Benzema has gone on to make 560 appearances in all competitions for Real and is the club’s fifth all-time leading goalscorer with 281.
He has also won four Champions League titles and three La Liga titles during his time at the Santiago Bernabéu.
Meanwhile, Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman has criticised youngster Ilaix Moriba over his contract standoff with the club. The Guinea-born Spain youth international broke into the Barca side in the second half of last season, making 14 La Liga appearances in total.
However, with less than 12 months remaining on his current deal talks over a renewal are at an impasse and Koeman was not shy in making his feelings on the subject known.
“I spoke to him two or three weeks ago, more as a person than as the Barça coach,” Koeman said. “He’s in a horrible situation, for me. He’s 18, he’s young, he’s had the chance to play in the first team and is the future of the club. But he’s now in a situation where he’s not going to play.
“I know what the club want to offer the player. My advice would be that money isn’t everything – it’s playing games. The player and his people think differently and that’s disappointing for me. It’s not the most important thing.”
Moriba has been linked with a host of Europe’s top clubs in recent weeks, and club president Joan Laporta insisted the club would not be held to ransom earlier this month.
“He has a year left and doesn’t want to renew. It’s a situation we don’t accept and we have to act,” Laporta said. “He’s been given opportunities, but the club is above everyone. I feel bad that he doesn’t recognise what we’ve done for him. We won’t let him leave for free.”
Koeman insisted that Philippe Coutinho would remain at Barcelona.
“He can be important for Barca. He was in the team last season but got injured – however I’m telling you, he’s in my plans this term”, said the Dutchman. “He can play in various positions, and we’ve lost goals with the departure of [Lionel] Messi and need to find them somewhere else. Philippe is an option in that sense.”