Carlo Ancelotti admits he was surprised by Karim Benzema’s decision to leave Real Madrid and has confirmed the club will sign a new striker this summer.
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Benzema has ended his 14-year stint with Madrid and has agreed a two-year contract with Saudi Arabian side Al-Ittihad, worth around €100million (£85.8m) per season.
The 35-year-old played his final game on Sunday and scored the equaliser as Madrid were held to a 1-1 draw by Athletic Bilbao at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Speaking about Benzema’s departure after Madrid’s final game of the La Liga season on Sunday, Ancelotti said: ‘I have trained one of the best in the world. Not only as a forward, as a complete footballer. He is a great person, kind, humble, serious.
‘We cannot be happy, but we must respect him. He earned the right to decide. He has done legendary, unforgettable things.
‘It was a surprise but it is part of a transition process. We have time to think about what we will do.
‘I spoke to him this morning and he told me he was leaving. I showed him all my respect for everything he has done.’
When asked about a possible replacement with Harry Kane, Chelsea’s Kai Havertz and Espanyol striker Joselu all linked, Ancelotti replied: ‘We want to sign a striker who can score goals and link up well.
‘A striker who plays football well.’
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