Karim Benzema Fuels Napoli Rumours with Real Madrid Social Media Post

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistJuly 10, 2018

Karim Benzema of Real Madrid during the UEFA Champions League final between Real Madrid and Liverpool on May 26, 2018 at NSC Olimpiyskiy Stadium in Kyiv, Ukraine(Photo by VI Images via Getty Images)
VI-Images/Getty Images

Karim Benzema's recent social media post celebrating his nine years with Real Madrid has many fans and pundits believing rumours he's on his way to Napoli are true. 

As reported by Victor Botija of Madrid-based newspaper AS, the Frenchman's post read a lot like a goodbye and only fuelled speculation he's on his way out.

The post read: "Nine years ago I first wore the Real Madrid shirt, thanks to the President, the whole club and the players and all the coaches with whom I met along the way. I've been proud to defend the club badge and am eternally grateful always #HalaMadrid."

Here's a look at the original post:

He later posted this tweet, saying he's happy in Madrid:

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According to Fox Deportes' Jeinny Lizarazo, the original message was "misunderstood" and only meant as a celebration of his anniversary. 

Per Botija, Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport has reported Napoli are prepared to offer Los Blancos €40 million for the striker, with new manager Carlo Ancelotti keen on a reunion.

The Italian and Benzema worked together at Real, and the 30-year-old produced some of his best work under his guidance.

Benzema's scoring output has declined in the last two seasons, and the 2017-18 campaign was his worst yet in the Spanish capital. He scored just 12 goals in 39 matches, and predictably, his poor form led to plenty of speculation.

(FromL) Real Madrid's French defender Raphael Varane and Real Madrid's French forward Karim Benzema celebrate at Cibeles square in Madrid on May 27, 2018  after winning their third Champions League title in a row in Kiev. (Photo by BENJAMIN CREMEL / AFP)
BENJAMIN CREMEL/Getty Images

The European champions have been heavily linked with Bayern Munich star Robert Lewandowski, with Mundo Deportivo (h/t Mark Jones of the Mirror) even reporting is agent met with club representatives.

Los Blancos could be in dire need of another scoring forward this summer if Cristiano Ronaldo ends up leaving for Juventus, and those rumours are strengthening every day. Per Cadena Cope (h/t Liam Prenderville of the Daily Mirror), the Portuguese has already talked with Bianconeri coach Massimiliano Allegri.

If he were to depart, Real will almost certainly invest heavily in a forward in an attempt to make up for all the goals they would lose. Without Ronaldo, getting an ace striker would be even more pivotal.

Giant screens display the image of Real Madrid's French forward Karim Benzema at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on May 27, 2018 during a victory ceremony after Real Madrid won its third Champions League title in a row in Kiev. (Photo by GABRIEL B
GABRIEL BOUYS/Getty Images

Benzema's main role in Madrid has always been that of a target in or near the box, and he has often played his best football with his back to goal. He's one of the best in the world at holding up the ball and finding cutting wingers, leading to some excellent assist numbers over the years.

That doesn't mean Benzema can't score goals―he grabbed his fair share as recently as the 2016-17 season:

It's easy to see why Ancelotti would like to add the veteran forward, especially if he could be available for just €40 million. Perhaps a change of scenery and system is all he needs to rediscover his shooting boots.