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Nuno Espirito Santo reportedly on the verge of Al Ittihad sack after incident with Karim Benzema

Nuno Espirito Santo reportedly on the verge of Al Ittihad sack after incident with Karim Benzema

Al Ittihad suffered a 2-0 defeat to Al Quwa Al Jawiya in the AFC Champions League on Monday.

Nuno Espirito Santo is said to be "on the brink" of being sacked by Saudi Pro League side Al Ittihad following a heated incident with Karim Benzema.

The 49-year-old former FC Porto and Wolves boss was unveiled as the new head coach of Al Ittihad in July last year, just seven months after beings sacked by Premier League outfit Spurs.

He soon helped 'The Tigers' to their first SPL title since 2009, and moved to strengthen their first-team squad this summer with the acquisitions of N'Golo Kante, Karim Benzema and Jota.

But after a tricky start to the 2023/24 campaign featuring two wins from their last nine games, Espirito Santo's job appears to be on the line following a string of poor results – not to mention a falling out with star striker Benzema.

A report from Spanish out Revelo suggests "tempers became more heated than necessary" on Monday, when Espirito Santo made his feelings known during a half-time team talk.

Al Ittihad were trailing 1-0 to Iraqi Premier League side Al Quwa Al Jawiya in the AFC Champions League thanks to a 44th minute goal from Ali Jasim.

And after Espirito Santo voiced his thoughts on the performance, Benzema raised his voice at the manager and insults were reportedly traded.

"The ex-Madridista is much more than the star of the team," the report reads. "His power extends off the field.

"In the locker room, in front of the rest of the players, the coach and captain shouted at each other, and it went a little beyond the normal tension of these moments."

They also add that the relationship between the coach and Benzema has reached a point of no return.

Image credit: Getty
Image credit: Getty

The board of Al Ittihad are said to be evaluating the "best way" to end Espirito Santo's contract at the King Abdullah Sports City stadium in Jeddah.

Jose Mourinho has been linked but it appears the Saudi Pro League club want to hire a French manager to please the likes of N'Golo Kante and Karim Benzema.

Zinedine Zidane is the so-called "unattainable dream" of the Saudi government but after being offered a blank cheque, he turned down the position. Laurent Blanc has also been mentioned.

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Featured Image Credit: Getty Images

Topics: Saudi Pro League, Karim Benzema, Nuno Espirito Santo, NGolo Kante, Saudi Arabia