What have Benzema and Jared Borgetti in common?
Saudi Arabia’s oldest club has signed the last surviving member of Real Madrid’s “BBC” frontline. Jared Borgetti played for Al-Ittihad in 2006.
A little less than six years ago, the two great bastions of Spanish soccer, Barcelona and Real Madrid, boasted two of the most feared frontlines in European football. The Catalans named their attack the MSN, an acronym using the first letter of the surnames of its forward trio: Messi, Suárez and Neymar. Madrid’s meanwhile, were dubbed the BBC, (Bale, Benzema and Cristiano).
Debates and individual tastes aside, these six players embodied some of the most memorable battles for world football hegemony. Barcelona’s MSN delivered the treble in 2015, while Madrid’s made the Champions League their playground for three years with consecutive triumphs in 2016, 2017 and 2018, becoming the first team to win the tournament three time in a row this century.
Little by little, the members of this group left the Iberian Peninsula and changed their horizons, and today, the last survivor of that historical period of football also said goodbye to what was his home for 14 years to play in Saudi Arabia, in the Al-Ittihad
Al-Ittihad are little known outside of Saudi Arabia - they are not the most successful nor the most popular, but they are the the oldest club. Founded in 1927 and nine-time winners of the leagues and Cup as well as being crowned Asian champions twice, the team is currently managed by Portuguese coach Nuno Espiritu Santo. Benzema will be the most important player to have worn the colors of Al-Ittihad in its entire history, although other prominent names have also starred. Jared Borgetti, the second all-time top scorer in the history of Mexico’s national team, had a brief stint with the club.
On 9 September 2006, two months after the World Cup finals in Germany, Jared Borgetti made his Al-Ittihad debut with a brace against Al-Tai. His adventure in Saudi Arabia didn’t turn out as expected and he made just nine appearances, scoring eight goals in total. Years later, Borgetti explained that it was a complicated period in his life due to the distance from his family and the culture shock.
After that, he returned to Mexico, to Cruz Azul, and after four years in which he played for teams like Monterrey, Chivas, Puebla and Monarcas, he retired at León in 2011.