After 14 trophy-laden seasons at the iconic Santiago Bernabeu, the Ballon d'Or winner has informed the Spanish giants of his decision to leave ahead of a move to the Middle East.

After 14 unforgettable years in the Spanish capital, Karim Benzema has decided to leave iconic club Real Madrid this summer.

This is according to ESPN. Julien Laurens, who is well connected with French football, dropped this bombshell on Thursday amid confirmed interest from Saudi Arabia in the Ballon d'Or holder.

The French striker did not enjoy the best of seasons as Los Blancos failed to defend their La Liga and UEFA Champions League titles, losing them to Barcelona and most likely Man City. However, on an individual level, the 35-year-old finished the campaign as his club's top scorer, netting an impressive 30 goals in 42 appearances across all competitions.

However, the player's Santiago Bernabeu contract ends this summer and while he was initially expected to commit his future to the Spanish giants, a mouthwatering offer from Saudi Arabia has led to a change of heart.

The report from ESPN reveals that the player has decided to join Al Ittihad, with the Saudi Pro League giants offering the Ballon d'Or holder an outstanding two-year deal worth €400 million ($429M).

The former Lyon ace has confirmed this decision to the Los Merengues higher-ups, including Carlo Ancelotti and Florentino Perez, ahead of the team's final game of the season, meaning the club icon will get a hero's farewell at the Santiago Bernabeu in Sunday's clash against Athletic Club.

Benzema hints at his inevitable departure on social media 

Benzema has spent 14 trophy-laden seasons with the Spanish giants, winning a whopping 24 titles, which includes five UEFA Champions League titles, making him the join-most successful player in this competition. Additionally, he has helped the club to four La Liga trophies, three Copas del Rey, three Spanish Supercopas, four UEFA Super Cups and five FIFA Club World Cups.

Karim, who played a more selfless role during his time alongside Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale, took up the goalscoring mantle upon Ronaldo's departure and has taken his all-time tally at Real Madrid to 353 goals, making his the second all-time top scorer in the club's history.

The 35-year-old could become the second high-profile player to move to Saudi Arabia, following in the footsteps of former teammate Cristiano Ronaldo who left Manchester United for Al-Nassr. Benzema has reportedly been offered a lucrative deal which includes a tax exemption on his wages and favorable image rights and advertising.

However, he might not be the only superstar to move to the Middle East this summer. Sergio Busquets, who announced his departure from Barcelona, could also follow suit while Lionel Messi is reportedly being pursued by fellow Saudi giants Al Hilal in a two-year deal that would see the player pocket over one billion USD.