Karim Benzema ahs revealed that he turned down advances from Barcelona, Manchester United and Inter before opting for his “dream” move to Real Madrid.
Benzema established himself as one of Europe’s most coveted strikers during his time at Lyon, for whom he scored 54 competitive goals in the last two seasons, and it was always a case of when, not if, he would leave the French outfit.
Madrid won the race for the France international after having €35million bid accepted last week.
When asked what other teams were keen on him, Benzema said: “There were quite a few clubs that contacted me like Manchester (United), Inter Milan and Barcelona, but I decided to come here.
“Real Madrid are an excellent club. I’ve dreamt about playing here since I was 15 years old.
“Florentino (Madrid president Perez) spoke to me about the team and the project that he wanted to create. I wanted to play at Real Madrid anyway so he didn’t have to convince me of hardly anything.”
Benzema is the the fourth new arrival to be unveiled by the Spanish giants since Perez returned to the presidency at the start of June, following in the footsteps of Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka and Raul Albiol.
Around 20,000 turned up at Santiago Ber4nabeu to greet Benzema, and the Frenchman was delighted with his reception.
“It was very exciting. Real Madrid fans have a special relationship with the players and I am very grateful for that,” he said.
“I felt some strong emotions today and that’s why I kissed the badge.”
Benzema is confident he can be a regular scorer at Madrid as well – provided he can secure himself a place in a star-studded line-up.
“I don’t want to promise a set number of goals, although I hope to score a lot. With players like Kaka, (Cristiano) Ronaldo and Raul it will be very easy for us to get goals,” said Benzema.
“I’m aware that there is great competition at the club and maybe I cannot always play, but I’ve come here to fight, so it’s not going to be a problem.”