Carlo Ancelotti speaks out on Karim Benzema exit and Harry Kane transfer link

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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