Reports: Benzema's new Real deal has US$1b buyout clause
Real Madrid's France forward Karim Benzema has signed a new contract at the club, which includes a 1-billion euro (US$1.2 billion) buyout clause, according to local media reports.
Spanish and European champion Real announced on Wednesday that Benzema had signed a three-year extension to his current deal, which was due to expire at the end of next season, taking him through to 2021.
Benzema follows in the footsteps of teammates Marcelo, Isco and Dani Carvajal, who have all penned new deals over the past two weeks containing clauses designed to avoid a repeat of the Neymar situation experienced by Barcelona in the close season.
Real’s rival Barcelona was caught off-guard when Paris Saint-Germain triggered the 222-million euro buyout clause in Neymar’s contract, which paved the way for the Brazil forward to move to the French club in August.
By law, contracts in Spain must feature a buyout clause and Real has moved to ensure its top players' deals contain unattainably high clauses. AS reported that Benzema’s buyout clause now matches teammate Cristiano Ronaldo's.
Real was not immediately available to comment.
Coach Zinedine Zidane's renewal is also imminent after the Frenchman repeated on Tuesday that his deal is "done".
Benzema's new deal means the forward, who is sidelined with a hamstring problem, is set to spend over a decade at Real, where he has been a regular first choice since joining in 2009.
He has made 247 Liga appearances for Real, netting 122 goals, and is the third-highest scorer currently active in the UEFA Champions League behind Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.
The 29-year-old has won 14 trophies, including three UCL and two La Liga titles, since joining Real from Lyon as one of Europe's most promising strikers in 2009, AFP reported.
Benzema has been ostracized by France at international level since 2015 due to his alleged role in a sex-tape plot aimed at blackmailing former international teammate Mathieu Valbuena.
However, he has always received the full backing of Zidane and in particular Real president Florentino Perez throughout the lengthy legal battle in his homeland.
That faith has been rewarded on the field as Benzema was a pillar of Real's first La Liga and European Cup double last season for 59 years — scoring the goal that sealed the league title at Malaga on the final day of the season.
"For me, he's one of the best strikers in the world," said Zidane last month.