Karim Benzema ended his 14 years at Real Madrid on a high after converting a penalty in the 1-1 draw with Athletic Bilbao on the final night of LaLiga season.
The French striker confirmed on Sunday he will leave the Bernabeu this summer and the Real legend scored his 354th goal for the club amid emotional scenes.
Two minutes later, he was withdrawn to a rousing standing ovation as he prepared to move to Saudi Arabia.
Although Benzema scored his 31st goal of the season, the draw saw Real slip behind rivals Atlético Madrid and finish third in the table.
Oihan Sancet gave Bilbao the lead four minutes after the break after Real goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois had previously saved a Mikel Vesga penalty.
Karim Benzema celebrates after converting a penalty in his Real Madrid farewell game
The French striker received a fitting farewell from the Bernabeu crowd on his last appearance
Benzema is lifted into the air by his Real team-mates after his last outing for the club
Benzema joined his teammates to applaud the Bernabeu crowd after his last appearance
Karim Benzema converted his penalty to ensure there was a goal in his last appearance
Two minutes later, he received a standing ovation from the Bernabeu crowd as he lifted the ball
Luka Modric hugs Benzema after substituting him at the Bernabeu with 16 minutes remaining
Real finished second in the LaLiga table after Villarreal’s late equalizer prevented rivals Atletico Madrid from securing second place behind Barcelona.
After Courtois saved Vesga’s penalty early in the first half, Bilbao took the lead in the 49th minute through Sancet, who fired a tame shot at the keeper before sinking the rebound on his tenth league goal of the season.
Real equalized in the 72nd minute after Eder Militao was elbowed in the face by Yuri Berchiche in the Bilbao penalty area. Benzema stepped forward and calmly scored the penalty before receiving a standing ovation from the fans.
Real retained second place despite the tie as ten-man Atlético Madrid drew 2-2 at Villarreal after Jorge Pascual equalized in the 92nd minute.
Diego Simeone’s side ended the season with 77 points, a point behind local rivals Real.
Osasuna secured a place in the Europa Conference League by beating Girona 2-1 to finish seventh, two points ahead of Bilbao.
News of Benzema leaving Real Madrid after 14 years to join Saudi Arabia club Al-Ittihad was confirmed ahead of kick-off.
In an official statement, the striker was dubbed a “fundamental player in this golden age of our history” and one of the club’s “greatest legends”.
Karim Benzema battles for the ball with Athletic Bilbao’s Aitor Paredes on Sunday night
There was recognition for club legend Benzema in the stands at the Santiago Bernabeu
News of French striker Benzema leaving the club after 14 years broke ahead of the final LaLiga game of the season
Real Madrid (4-3-3): Courtois; Carvajal, Militao, Ruediger, Fernandez; Camavinga (Tchouameni 58), Kroos, Ceballos (Asensio 58 (Lucas 90+2)); Rodrygo, Benzema (c) (Modric 74), Vinicius Jnr
Substitutes not used: Lunin (GK); Alaba, Mariano, Hazard, Mendy, Odriozola, Vallejo, Valverde
Manager: Carlo Ancelotti
Scorer: Benzema pin 72
Booked: Ceballos, Carvajal
Athletic Bilbao (4-2-3-1): Simon; De Marcos (c), Vivian, Paredes, Berchiche; Herrera, Vesga (Vencedor 67); I Williams (Zarraga 64), Sancet (Muniain 77), N Williams (Berenguer 64); Guruzeta (Garcia 77)
Substitutes not used: Agirrezabala (GK); Ares Djalo, Balenziaga, Bita Jr, Capa, Gomez, Lekue
Manager: Ernesto Valverde
Scorer: Sancet 49
Missed Penalty: vesga 10
Booked: Sancet, Berchiche
Real plan to pay tribute to their captain in the city on Tuesday before accepting a two-year deal worth a staggering £345million with the Jeddah club.
Al-Ittihad have just won the Saudi Pro League title, finishing five points ahead of Al-Nassr, whose team also includes Benzema’s former team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo.
Benzema has made over 600 appearances in all competitions for Los Blancos and is the club’s second-highest goalscorer of all time, behind only his former team-mate Ronaldo.
Then-Madrid manager Manuel Pellegrini brought Benzema to the Bernabeu in 2009 for a £30m deal after enjoying two successful seasons in Ligue 1 with Lyon.
The teenager initially struggled to secure a place in the team’s star-studded starting XI but eventually developed into an integral part of Real Madrid’s dominance throughout the 2010s and beyond, winning every silver medal at his disposal.
After scoring a career-best 44 goals in 46 games in the 2021/22 season, Benzema became the oldest Ballon d’Or winner since Stanley Matthews, receiving the coveted honor in the same season in which he won his fifth Champions League Cup won, a joint record.
Although the veteran striker’s last season was hampered by injuries, he still scored 18 La Liga goals in 23 games for Carlo Ancelotti, with the club currently second in the league.
The captain’s presence was also felt in the Copa del Rey, where he scored a hat-trick in the semi-final second leg against Barcelona in a 4-0 win and provided an assist to come from a 1-0 deficit before ending 90 minutes played in the final win against Osasuna.
Oihan Sancet celebrates the goal that gave Athletic Bilbao an advantage in the 49th minute
Real’s defense faltered just after the break as Sancet gave Bilbao the lead
Bilbao’s Mikel Vesga saw an early penalty saved by Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois
Real Madrid striker Vinicius Junior regrets a missed opportunity in Sunday night’s game