Karim Benzema and N’Golo Kante are set to train under Marcelo Gallardo at Al-Ittihad following Julen Lopetegui’s U-turn.
According to reports from TyC Sports, the 47-year-old Marcelo Gallardo will to head to the Middle East to take charge of Al-Ittihad in the Saudi Pro League. Gallardo is reportedly set to sign a contract with the club until June 2025, with an option to extend the deal for a further two-year period until June 2027.
The club sacked former manager Nuno Espirito Santo following reports of his involvement in a heated dressing room clash with Benzema after a 2-0 loss against Iraqi side Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya in the AFC Champions League. In search of a replacement, the defending champions targeted former Spain and Real Madrid manager Lopetegui. However, Lopetegui declined the offer as he intends to make a comeback to the Premier League.
Many consider Gallardo as the greatest manager in River Plate’s history. Throughout his nine-year tenure with the Argentine team, he has achieved an impressive record of winning 14 titles, including two Copa Libertadores. Notably, one of those victories came after triumphing over fierce rivals Boca Juniors. Additionally, Gallardo led River Plate to the final of the FIFA Club World Cup in 2015, although they were defeated by Barcelona in the summit clash.
Gallardo is expected to face Steven Gerrard’s Al-Ettifaq in his debut game as the manager of Al-Ittihad on November 24. The match will take place at Abdullah Al Dabil Stadium in the Saudi Pro League. As Ittihad currently sits in the fifth position, trailing Al-Hilal by 10 points after matchday 13, Gallardo will face a challenging task ahead of him.