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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Mar 13, 2008

Benzema extends Lyon contract until 2013

Lyon striker Karim Benzema has signed a new contract at the club until 2013, with an option for a further one-year extension.

The France international has been attracting the attention of a host of leading European teams after a string of superb performances for Les Gones this campaign, but he has committed his future to the club he joined when he was eight years old.

An statement on the club's website said: 'Karim Benzema and the Lyon president agree that this extension is an important moment both for the player and for the club.''

The 20-year-old admitted last week he wanted to stay with the French champions, despite speculation linking him with a move to Manchester United.

'I want to be at Lyon next year,'' he told Spanish daily El Mundo deportivo. 'There's still so much to do and I want to win titles with Lyon.''

At today's official announcement, the 20-year-old reiterated that he never had any other desire than to win trophies with Lyon.

He said: 'In my head it was clear that I wanted to continue my progression here and not exile myself in Spain, England or Italy.

'I'm happy in Lyon, I was born here, I live here, I want to continue learning at Olympique Lyonnais.

'Everyone has faith in me, my team-mates are behind me. I really want to win lots of titles, starting with a cup-league double this season and I'd love to one day win the Champions League with Lyon. There's still so much to do.''

Although the five-year contract is the maximum length that can be offered, Benzema did not say that he would stay in France for its duration.

'I can't say how long I'll be here, maybe another two or three years,'' he added.

'The moment will come, we'll decide it together with the president.''

Club president Jean-Michel Aulas, meanwhile, admitted that the club had had to put its hands in its pockets to ensure that their star player was not attracted by lucrative offers from abroad.

'With sporting ambition comes financial ambition,'' he explained.

'We've done what we thought was necessary so Karim wouldn't be embarrassed to compare what he gets with what he would have got abroad.

'We've done the most possible, he completely deserves it. It was necessary that he not only felt good here but that he had the salary he deserves with his talent, which is immense. We're staking a lot on him.''