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Florentino Pérez: “Becoming a Real Madrid legend is something only a select few can achieve, and Benzema has done so”

The president spoke at Benzema’s farewell ceremony.

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On Tuesday, Real Madrid held a farewell ceremony for Karim Benzema at Valdebebas and Florentino Pérez started the event by speaking about the striker’s 14-year career at the club. The club president commenced his speech by stating: “Today is a very difficult day for me and it’s an emotional day for all Madridistas. Many memories are coming to mind. I’ve noticed a lot of sadness these past few days, not just among Real Madrid fans but among all football fans. To all those who feel sad, I would like to say that this is a moment to remember the enormous fortune we have had enjoying Benzema’s football during these 14 years, because we have seen incredible things. I would like to thank Jean-Michel Aulas, the then-president of Lyon, for making his arrival possible 14 years ago.”

Pérez then addressed Benzema and continued: “14 years ago, your incredible era started. And, In this time, Karim, you have become one of the best players in history. You arrived very young and went on to become one of our greatest legends. You have been spectacular with your way of understanding football, with your goals, with your impossible plays. You have been and are a different kind of footballer. While it took some a while to understand you, you have succeeded with your talent, your magic and your desire to find the beauty of football. You have known the values of Real Madrid and shown team spirit, humility, respect, solidarity, hard work, self-improvement and leadership. In all this time, you have grown as a footballer and as a person, overcoming various obstacles. Karim, today is a day to be happy and feel proud and satisfied about everything you achieved. Becoming a Real Madrid legend is something only a select few can achieve, and you have done so, winning 25 titles, more than anyone else.”

The president spoke a little about the Champions League title won last season and Benzema’s role in it. He said: “That was a season that will never be forgotten, as you led the team, Karim. When it seemed impossible and nobody believed in us, you and your teammates where to show that we never give up at Real Madrid. No Madridista will ever forget those comebacks, which led you to become the current Ballon d’Or holder.”

After listing some of Benzema’s stats, Pérez then concluded his speech as so: “As president, I have to say that in all these years I couldn’t ever say a ‘but’ about you, not about your conduct or behaviour or anything. That’s not easy to achieve. You have always represented the values of Real Madrid and today, after everything you have done at this club for 14 years, I want to tell you that you have earned the right to decide your own destiny, a future that only belongs to you and that we must accept and respect. Dear Karim, dear captain, thank you for everything you have done for the most supported and admired club in the world. You arrived when you were almost a child and today you have become one of our great legends, one of the best players of all times. Your legend will last forever as a beautiful love story between Karim Benzema and Real Madrid. I am sure that wherever you go you will be one of our greatest ambassadors and will continue to represent the values of Real Madrid, because this is and always will be your home. Thank you Karim, for this love story.”

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