Reportedly, Karim Benzema and Nuno Espirito Santo clashed heatedly in the dressing room before the manager’s sacking at Al-Ittihad.
According to a surprising disclosure from the Saudi Arabian outlet Al Riyadiah, Espirito Santo and star player Benzema engaged in a heated argument that ultimately resulted in the manager’s departure from the team.
Despite having a star-studded roster that featured former Ballon d’Or winner Benzema and ex-Chelsea ace N’Golo Kante, Al-Ittihad experienced a 2-0 defeat in the AFC Champions League against Iraqi side Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya. The incident allegedly took place during half-time, with Ittihad behind 1-0. Espirito Santo reportedly criticized Benzema, accusing him of being “lazy” in his play.
Espirito said: “You are a great player, but it seems that you are too lazy to put pressure on your rival.
“Don’t just talk to me, talk to the whole group,” Karim replied.
Benzema urged the club to sack Espirito Santo
Espirito Santo persisted in the exchange, urging Benzema to lead by example and underscoring his significance as both a team leader and an athlete.
The report suggests that tensions regarding Espirito Santo’s position had been escalating, with Karim allegedly informing the club’s board that the manager was impeding the club’s progress.
Following the altercation, the club subsequently dismissed Espirito Santo, and there are reports indicating that the club is actively seeking a new manager. Laurent Blanc, the former Lyon manager, is rumored to be a potential replacement. Additionally, while they have considered Zinedine Zidane, he has not accepted any offers as of now.
This Friday, Benzema is gearing up for a comeback to the field in the Saudi Pro League against Abha.