Real Madrid have granted veteran forward Karim Benzema a few extra few days off to rest before joining his teammates for pre-season training.
Real players involved in June internationals, including Luka Modric and new signings Antonio Rudiger and Aurelien Tchouameni, reported for duty on Thursday for the first time this summer, joining the rest of the first-team squad already back at work.
AS has reported that 34-year-old Benzema has ‘special permission’ to extend his summer break until 19 July, at which point he will link up with his teammates in Los Angeles for a pre-season programme in the United States. It is said he will be the last player to report for duty.
Benzema enjoyed the best season of his career in 2021/22. The Frenchman scored 44 goals in all competitions, shattering his own best previous single season and finishing as the leading marksman in both La Liga (27) and the Champions League (15) as Real won both.
While stateside, Real will play three pre-season games. They will begin by travelling to Las Vegas to face Clasico rivals Barcelona on 23 July, followed by a meeting with Mexican giants Club America in San Francisco. Los Blancos conclude the tour by facing Juventus back in Los Angeles on 30 July.
Benzema will be leading Real as club captain this coming season, with Marcelo bidding farewell to the club at the end of June when his contract expired.
For more from Jamie Spencer, follow him on Twitter and Facebook!