Karim Benzema has a debut to remember on Thursday night, where he scores a screamer for Saudi side Al Ittihad in their Arab Club Champions Cup victory against Espérance Sportive de Tunis.
The 35-year-old Ballon d’Or winner, who recently signed a three-year deal at Al Ittihad worth a reported £172 million a year, is one of many high-profile players to join the Saudi Pro League this summer.
Roberto Firmino and Edouard Mendy have penned contracts with Al Ahli, while Ruben Neves, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, and Kalidou Koulibaly play under former Benfica coach Jorge Jesus at Al Hilal.
Benzema, meanwhile, plays alongside France teammate N’Golo Kante at the King Abdullah Sports City stadium in Jeddah; all while becoming the second-highest paid player in world football.
If you break down that astronomical sum, the Frenchman will pocket £14.34 million per month; a figure that equates to £19,640-an-hour, £327.34 per minute, and £5.46 every second.
A month after sealing the mammoth deal, Benzema showcased his value by registering a goal and an assist during his debut against Espérance Sportive de Tunis, who surprisingly took the lead in the 28th minute.
However, just nine minutes later, Abderrazak Hamdallah leveled the score with a close-range header, capitalizing on Benzema’s excellent work from the left.
Then, ten minutes into the second half, the 2022 Ballon d’Or recipient drifted to the left wing, skillfully cut inside, and curled a shot past ES Tunis goalkeeper Amanallah Memmich.
This splendid effort from the seasoned forward reaffirmed his status as one of the world’s finest strikers in football.
Karim Benzema first assist at Al Ittihad.. pic.twitter.com/xVsJosQDKU
— FOOTBALLFANSSTUFF (@officialffsnews) July 27, 2023
Benzema’s first Al-Ittihad goal 🚀pic.twitter.com/Vay6knK68G
— Football Transfers (@Transfersdotcom) July 28, 2023
Al Ittihad even joked that Benzema pressed the R1 button while holding down shoot to release his finesse shot. Here’s how the rest of social media reacted to his performance.
One fan said: “Karim Benzema cooking in his debut game for Al Ittihad shouldn’t surprise you one bit. The guy needed rest to recover, he got his rest,” while another wrote: “That Benzema assist is mad.”
A third commented: “If you play football you’d know how hard it is to nail that fake shot he did with his weak foot and have the ball so well-manipulated before shooting while sending the two defenders away. Karim Benzema is another level of football.”
A fourth added: “Karim Benzema doing Karim Benzema things on his Al-Ittihad debut.”
Last month, Benzema opened up about his move to Al-Ittihad during a fascinating sit-down interview with the club’s media channels.
“It’s one of the top clubs in Saudi Arabia. It’s a club that sees a lot of passion from its fan and has many trophies,” he said.
“The stadium is exceptional, and as I said and will repeat; there’s so much passion – a good team always needs fans. The fans are very important, and with that passion, it gives us the motivation to be best on the field.”
He added: “I hope for my new club, what I’ll be able to bring is my football and most importantly to be able to win titles. It’s a new chapter for me and I would like to further advance the club.
“It’s a club with a lot of passion. I would like the fans to find themselves in me. I would like to leave a lasting legacy, because I love football. I always have this competitiveness to push my limits and go even higher.
“That’s why I’m going to be well prepared to give them and show them my talent.”