The 21-year old Lyon striker has been high on Sir Alex Ferguson's wanted list for the past year and was widely expected to the the next big-name arrival at Old Trafford in a deal worth around £40million.
But Ferguson will be stunned to discover Benzema has gone public on his future and made it clear Spain or Italy would be his preferred destination.
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Speaking in Lyon, the France striker admitted he was about to discuss his position with club officials and added he hoped to be playing in Madrid, Barcelona or Milan next season.
'I consider I am already playing for a big club, and I have thoroughly enjoyed my time with Lyon,' he said.
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'But I like the idea of playing for an even bigger one, like Barcelona, Real Madrid, Inter Milan or AC Milan.
'We have a Champions' League tie with Barcelona coming up, and that deserves my full attention. After those two games, though, I would like to sort things out and decide where my future lies.
'I don't like to speak about leaving Lyon, but if that is going to happen, it must be a sporting project, a move that is going to benefit me as a player.'
Ferguson will still hope to convince Benzema that joining United would be in his best interests, even though he angered Lyon officials by admitting his admiration for the pacey frontrunner after the sides met in last season's Champions' League.