Karim Benzema’s adventure in Saudi Arabia has taken a turn for the worse since his move to Al-Ittihad in the summer of 2023. The 2022 Ballon d’Or winner is facing increasing criticism after a string of disappointing performances.
Since his arrival, Benzema has failed to establish himself as an undisputed leader at his new club. His struggles were compounded by Al-Ittihad’s defeat to Al-Raed on Saturday, December 23, a team that was then in last place in the league.
That loss widened the gap with league-leading Al-Hilal to 22 points, highlighting Benzema’s integration problems in the Saudi Pro League.
Saudi TV presenter slams Benzema
The comments of Walid Al-Farraj, a well-known presenter in Saudi Arabia, reflect the general sentiment. He compared Benzema’s attitude and performances unfavorably to those of Cristiano Ronaldo, who had joined the Saudi league earlier.
“The gap between Benzema and the fans is widening day by day. He hasn’t played and has never made a single difference. And most importantly, he’s not making any effort, as if he’s telling the fans, ‘I’m just having fun with you.'”
“When Ronaldo arrived in January, he showed signs that he wanted to play, but Benzema is offering nothing. It’s as if the team doesn’t like him. He’s uncomfortable. I don’t know the reason,” he said to Goal Arabia.
Al-Ittihad coach Marcelo Gallardo also seems dissatisfied, having substituted Benzema before the end of the match against Al-Raed. This situation highlights the challenges that Benzema must face in order to adapt to his new environment and regain his star form.