Former Real Madrid striker, Karim Benzema will continue with his debut season at Al Ittihad under a new head coach, Marcelo Gallardo.
Karim Benzema who left Spanish La Liga for the Saudi Pro League on a free transfer on July 1, 2023, reportedly had a face-off with coach Nuno Espírito Santo which contributed to the coach’s dismissal.
Santo helped Al Ittihad to win the Saudi Pro League last season over Cristiano Ronaldo’s Al Nassr but that was not enough to remain at the club beyond this month.
The former Wolves and Tottenham Hotspur coach has now been replaced by Marcelo Gallardo who has been coaching clubs in South America since 2011.
Gallardo, 47, started his managerial journey at the Uruguayan club, Nacional, where he spent just a season before he moved back to his home country, Argentina, to coach River Plate in 2014.
Since 2022, the retired Argentina international has been without a coaching job and Al Ittihad will be his first coaching job outside South America.
According to transfer expert, Fabrizio Romano, Marcelo Gallardo signed a contract with the Saudi club valid until June 2025 plus an option to extend the deal until June 2027.
“I’m gonna accept Al Ittihad proposal also due to personal reasons. They motivated me with a huge project in a new interesting league”, Gallardo confirmed on Saturday, November 18.
“This is gonna open my mind. I see that as something different, it motivates me and I really can’t wait to get back to work”.