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Page last updated at 08:06 GMT, Friday, 10 July 2009 09:06 UK

Benzema 'chose Real over Man Utd'

Karim Benzema
Karim Benzema salutes Real Madrid's fans at The Bernabeu

Real Madrid's new signing Karim Benzema has revealed he rejected advances from Manchester United, Inter Milan and Barcelona to move to the Bernabeu.

Benzema, 21, was paraded after moving from Lyon on a six-year deal for a fee that could eventually rise to £35m.

He said: "There were quite a few clubs that contacted me like Manchester United, Inter Milan and Barcelona, but I decided to come here.

"I've dreamed about playing here since I was 15 years of age."

The France international added: "Real Madrid president Florentino 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."

The striker 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 hard on the heels of of Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka and Raul Albiol.

606: DEBATE

An estimated 90,000 people turned up for Ronaldo's presentation at The Bernabeu on Monday, while around 55,000 were in attendance for Kaka's unveiling. Around 20,000 supporters welcomed Benzema - and he was delighted with his reception.

Benzema said: "It was very exciting. Real Madrid fans have a special relationship with the players and I am very grateful for that. I felt some strong emotions today and that's why I kissed the badge."

He was a regular marksman at Lyon, but refused to set himself a target as he takes his place in Real's star-studded line-up.

"I don't want to promise a set number of goals, although I hope to score a lot," he said. "With players like Kaka, Ronaldo and Raul, it will be very easy for us to get goals.

"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."



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see also
Real Madrid agree on Benzema deal
02 Jul 09 |  Europe
Ronaldo completes 80m Real move
01 Jul 09 |  Man Utd
Kaka completes Real Madrid switch
09 Jun 09 |  Europe
Perez to return as Real president
01 Jun 09 |  Europe


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