Reports linking Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema with a big-money move to Saudi Arabia have intensified in recent days, leaving manager Carlo Ancelotti in a dilemma for the No.9 position. To fill the void, the Italian could possibly turn to his former player Richarlison, as suggested by Spanish journalist Tomas Gonzalez-Martin.
Benzema was initially expected to fulfill his contract and stay for another season, but the reported proposal from Saudi outfit Al-Ittiahd appears to have changed his mind.
The French International has supposedly been offered a monetary sum worth $235 million, along with some extravagant perks including – full-image rights, advertising opportunities, and various philanthropic ventures.
Karim Benzema has received a huge, big proposal from Saudi club — Real Madrid have been informed by Benzema’s camp that he’s seriously considering that and he will decide soon. 🚨⚪️🇸🇦 #Benzema
Real have Karim’s new deal documents ready since last year but nothing signed yet. pic.twitter.com/Rri4JJ8YYS
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) May 30, 2023
His decision has been hotly awaited throughout the world of Soccer, as the Ballon d’Or winner’s departure will undoubtedly be a massive blow for Real Madrid. Aside from scoring a plethora of goals, the 35-year-old has cemented his status as a club legend. And the loss of his leadership in the dressing room will be difficult to replicate.
While his final decision remains unconfirmed as of now, Ancelotti appears to have begun his search for replacements. The 63-year-old has reportedly indicated his interest in Tottenham Hotspur forward Richarlison, the pair previously worked together at Everton.
🚨 Richarlison is a real option to replace Karim Benzema at Real Madrid because Carlo Ancelotti appreciates him very much! 🇧🇷
— Transfer News Live (@DeadlineDayLive) June 1, 2023
The Brazil International has endured a lackluster spell at Spurs during his first season at the club, having scored just a single goal while spending most of the year on the bench.
In contrast to his fortunes in North London, Richarlison looks to have secured a position in the Brazil National side. His Qatar World Cup campaign was commendable on an individual level, and it included a goal-of-the-season contender, scored against Serbia.
Given his reported interest, Ancelotti evidently sees potential within the Brazilian, potential that he has firsthand during their spell together at Everton.
A look at Carlo Ancelotti and Richarlison’s time together at Everton
The pair worked together at Goodison Park after the Italian ventured into the Premier League during the latter half of the 2019/20 season.
Richarlison had established himself as a first-choice starter by that time, and Ancelotti continued to give the forward more responsibility.
During their first full campaign in the subsequent season, the 26-year-old made 34 appearances in the Premier League, racking up 7 goals and 3 assists. He added 6 more goals in Cup competitions, taking his overall tally to 13 for the season.
Under Ancelotti, the Brazillian’s striker partnership with Dominic Calvert-Lewin continued to flourish; a positive outcome from an underwhelming campaign.
At one point, the former Chelsea boss even made an audacious claim about the striker, as stated by Richarlison himself.
Remember when Ancelotti said Richarlison would win a Ballon d’Or one day… pic.twitter.com/ywe41U5d8w
— ESPN UK (@ESPNUK) November 24, 2022
Their time together seems to have been convincing enough for the Italian, who could possibly turn to his old player in case Benzema’s departure is confirmed.