By acquiring Karim Benzema from Real Madrid earlier this summer, Al-Ittihad had a huge impact on the transfer market. The Ballon d’Or winner for 2022 has now made his debut, impressively scoring three goals in the Arab Club Champions Cup, but he has not yet scored in the Saudi Pro League.
Club harmony in Saudi Arabia appears to be at an all-time low. Benzema’s status with his new club has taken a dramatic turn, according to recent Asharq Al-Awsat reports. The Frenchman’s start in his new setting has not been ideal due to a dispute that has developed between him and his coach, Nuno Esprito Santo, and is thought to be intense.
Because of his allegedly unimpressive playing style and lack of interest in bringing him on board in the first place, the Portuguese coach is reluctant to start Benzema. The Real Madrid great, according to Esprito Santo, doesn’t fit the team’s needs and is unable to provide what he seeks. Additionally, the athlete has already spoken with a club leader about his uneasiness and a feeling of “unprofessional treatment by his coach.”
The issue of the captain’s armband exacerbates the tense dynamic between them. Asharq Al-Awsat claims that Benzema first consented to accept the position of team captain during discussions because of his expertise. The Portuguese coach, however, turned down this demand and appointed club great Romarinho as captain instead. The former Real Madrid striker has since pleaded with management to act quickly to find a way to reduce the tensions between him and his coach.