Karim Benzema Nuno Espirito Santo Al-Ittihad 2023-24Getty/GOAL

Karim Benzema wielding his power! Nuno Espirito Santo sacked by Al-Ittihad after exchanging 'insults' with French superstar following disappointing AFC Champions League defeat

  • Al-Ittihad in dire form despite new stars
  • Benzema and Nuno involved in bust up
  • Portuguese sacked on Tuesday

WHAT HAPPENED? The Saudi Pro League holders are currently winless in their last five league outings. But their form reached new lows with a desolate 2-0 loss to Iraqi side Al Quwa Al Jawiya in the AFC Champions League on Monday. This, according to Revelo, sparked a vicious verbal feud between captain and manager, as Benzema and Nuno reportedly exchanged insults for some time after the final whistle.

THE BIGGER PICTURE: As a result of this turmoil and continued bad form, Al-Ittihad announced on Tuesday that they had parted ways with the Portuguese coach. Nuno oversaw just two wins from their last nine games across all competitions, despite major investment in players over the summer.

Key to this decision, Relevo reports, was that Nuno's relationship with Benzema reportedly reached "a point of no return", with the demands of Al-Ittihad's star signing clearly prioritised over the former Tottenham and Wolves boss. Now managerless, the report suggests that the Saudi outfit could look to bring in a French manager to appease the 2022 Ballon d'Or winner.

Article continues below


Karim Benzema Al-IttihadGettyNuno Espirito Santo Al-Ittihad 2023-24Getty ImagesLaurent Blanc Lyon Rennes OL SRFCGetty Images

WHAT NEXT? With Nuno confirmed as gone, it remains to be seen who Al-Ittihad elect to bring in. Zinedine Zidane is thought to be the "unattainable dream" of the current Saudi champions, as he has previously ruled himself out of the race, while former Lyon boss Laurent Blanc has also been mooted to take over.