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Karim Benzema's Saudi Arabia nightmare goes from bad to worse after shock Al Ittihad decision

Karim Benzema's Saudi Arabia nightmare goes from bad to worse after shock Al Ittihad decision

The club have made a shock decision.

Karim Benzema's spell in Saudi Arabia has hit another snag after his Al-Ittihad manager made a huge decision.

Benzema left Real Madrid last summer to join Saudi Pro League side Al-Ittihad, but his time in the Gulf State has not gone entirely to plan.

While the 2022 Ballon d'Or winner has scored nine goals in 15 league outings this season, his side are currently fifth in the table and a whopping 22 points behind league leaders Al-Hilal.

There have been reports in recent weeks of tensions between Benzema and his manager Marcelo Gallardo, resulting in speculation that the 36-year-old is on the radar of Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United.

Now, Benzema has suffered a fresh blow.

According to L'Equipe, Gallardo has left the striker out of his squad for Al-Ittihad's Asian Champions League last-16 tie against Uzbek side Navbahor Namangan on Thursday.

Spanish outlet AS have reported that Benzema has been left out due to restrictions on the number of foreign players teams can field in the competitions (five per team).

Benzema missed his side's season training camp last month, so Gallardo reportedly decided to omit Benzema from his squad due to the Frenchman's poor physical condition.

Karim Benzema of Al-Ittihad
Karim Benzema of Al-Ittihad

While that of course isn't Benzema's fault, his manager is reportedly unhappy with the striker's form and perceived lack of application in training.

In Benzema's absence, Gallardo has selected Ahmed Hegazy, N’Golo Kanté, Fabinho, Romarinho and Abderrazak Hamdallah as the five foreign players in his squad for the tie.

Last week Benzema and Gallardo were reportedly involved in an angry altercation.

The former River Plate coach reportedly ordered the club captain to train by himself after participating in a team session.

Benzema is said to have refused and left the session early after becoming angry with his boss.

The French star's contract will expire in 2026, by which time he will be 38 years old.

Featured Image Credit: Getty

Topics: Karim Benzema, Saudi Pro League, Saudi Arabia