In a shocking turn of events, Saudi Arabian media has recently revealed an incredible story of a conflict between Karim Benzema and his coach, Nuno Esperito Santo, at Al-Ittihad. This revelation comes weeks after Al-Ittihad made headlines by signing Benzema from Real Madrid, leaving behind a new season with the Spanish giants to don the Yellow and Black jersey of the Saudi club. Since then, the 2022 Ballon d’Or winner has made his debut and has, unsurprisingly, found the back of the net multiple times during the Arab Champions Club Cup.
However, all does not seem well within the club and in Saudi Arabia as a whole. In the past few hours, Saudi media has dropped a bombshell regarding Benzema’s situation at his new club. According to reports from the Saudi media outlet Asharq Al-Aswat, the French striker is embroiled in a conflict with his coach, Nuno Espírito Santo, and their relationship has become more than strained.
It appears that the Portuguese coach is not keen on including Benzema in his starting lineup. The reason behind this decision lies in Nuno Espírito Santo’s lack of appreciation for Benzema’s style of play, as he never requested his signing in the first place. The coach believes that KB9 does not meet the team’s requirements and does not provide what he desires. Furthermore, Benzema is yet to find the back of the net in the league. On the other hand, the player has already expressed his discontent and feeling of being “treated unprofessionally by his coach” to a club executive.
Another point that has exacerbated the tension between the two men is the captain’s armband. According to insider information from Asharq Al-Aswat, during the negotiations, Benzema had agreed to be the team’s captain due to his vast experience and status. However, the Portuguese tactician refused this request and instead handed the armband to Romarinho, a club legend, and Ahmed Sharahili. Since then, the former Real Madrid striker has approached the club’s management, urging them to find a swift solution to ease the tensions.
The Saudi media has even revealed that Benzema was absent from the latest training session. This information can be verified by the fact that KB9 is the only player missing from the photos posted on the club’s Instagram account on Tuesday. These mounting tensions, if left unresolved, could undoubtedly jeopardize Nuno Espirito Santo’s position as the coach.
The conflict between Karim Benzema and Nuno Espírito Santo at Al-Ittihad has taken an unexpected turn, casting a shadow over the French striker’s future at the Saudi club. With the player expressing his dissatisfaction and feeling of being mistreated, and the coach’s reluctance to include him in the starting lineup and grant him the captaincy, the situation seems to be reaching a boiling point. As the tension persists, the club’s management will undoubtedly need to act swiftly to find a resolution and restore harmony within the team.