Al-Ittihad star Karim Benzema reportedly has been axed from the first-team squad by new head coach Marcelo Gallardo.
Al-Ittihad training has resumed after winter break, and they are set to travel to Dubai for training camp. However, Benzema reportedly did not show up at the club’s facilities in Jeddah on Friday and Marcelo Gallardo has decided to eliminate him from their squad.
Benzema also had a bust-up with the previous manager Nuno Espirito Santo, and he was eventually sacked in November. The Frenchman reportedly missed three training sessions in December, and Gallardo is unimpressed with Benzema’s behaviour since he has taken on the role.
Benzema has not lived up to expectations in the Saudi Pro League and has only scored 9 goals this season. After a 5-2 defeat against Cristiano Ronaldo’s Al-Nassr in December, fans attacked Benzema on social media, and he closed his Instagram.
There are reports that the 36-year-old Ballon d’Or winner may return to European football after just six months of playing in Saudi Arabia. However, it is unclear whether Al-Ittihad will let him leave after their investment.