09 July 2009
Juan Jose Lepez Soto / Translation by realmadrid.com
Karim Benzema was unveiled by Real Madrid President of Honor, Alfredo di Stefano and President Florentino Perez as the fourth signing of the summer following Kaka, Albiol and Cristiano Ronaldo. More than 30,000 Madridistas welcomed the French striker.
The North Stand of the Bernabeu began to fill two hours prior to the scheduled presentation. The stadium was full of fans, both young and old, who were treated to a video montage of Benzema's past success. Among those invited to the unveiling were fomer players Amancio, Santamaria, Pachin, Zoco and Ico Aguilar. Florentino Perez was first to appear on scene to chants of "Florentino, Florentino…!" Benzema made his appearance several minutes later as his name reverberated through the stadium.
“Thank you again for displaying the necessary strength and excitement needed to build the Real Madrid we all want. There is no easy explanation for what we have experienced in this stadium in recent days. The presentations of these great players who have joined our club have been spectacular thanks to you. You have again shown your loyalty to this team, but this is just the beginning. We still have a lot of work to do even as of today. Those who have helped build the legend of this club have shown us that the correct path to success is only possible with the best fans, the best players and a lot of talent and sacrifce; a flawless model first implemented many years ago by our president Santiago Bernabeu.”
“Exactly eight years, a beloved French player joined this club. Eight years ago Zinedine Zidane arrived, but this model also counts on great players for the future. Today we welcome a young player who has proven to be the best of the French league and who dreamed of wearing this shirt as a child. Today we welcome one of the best strikers in European football. Karim Benzema is here. Beloved Karim, perhaps not everyone know that this was your dream; that this white shirt and crest that you are now wearing are what you asked for several years ago in your city of Lyon. Your wish has come true and these fans are offering you their full support so that together we can obtain the triumphs that we so desire. As of today you are a part of the Real Madrid that you have always adored. I am sure you will enjoy the rigor and maximum effort that this shirt requires. Karim Benzema, welcome to your new home; welcome to your beloved Real Madrid.”
In very rough Spanish, Benzema responded to the president's words. “Thank you all for being here. I am very happy to be playing for the best club in the world. I am happy to be playing for the same team my idols Zidane and Ronaldo played for. Thank you to President Florentino Perez." And he concluded by yelling, "One, two, three: Hala Madrid!” and kissing the crest.
Following his brief speech, Benzema approached the stands to greet the fans. He wrapped himself in a scarf that was thrown at him and continued kissing the Real Madrid crest. Surely the happiest day in the young life of Karim Benzema.