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Al-Ittihad Sack Nuno Santo Over Poor Run, Row With Benzema

Al-Ittihad Sack Nuno Santo Over Poor Run, Row With Benzema

Saudi Pro League club, Al-Ittihad have reportedly sacked Nuno Espirito Santo following a string of poor performances and an altercation with Karim Benzema.

This season, Al-Ittihad have only won six of their twelve league games. And their 2-0 AFC Champions League loss to Iraqi side, Al-Quwa Al-Juwiya on Monday seemed to be the last straw.

The Jeddah-based outfit has only won two of their last nine games in all competitions, and there have been rumours of manager and player tensions rising.

According to Revelo as reported by talkSPORT 2022 Ballon d’Or winner, Karim Benzema and Santo traded verbal jabs in the locker room following their loss to the Air Force Club.

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In a statement on X, Al-Ittihad said: “The club has announced the end of its contract with Portuguese coach, Nuno Santo.

“This decision comes after a comprehensive technical evaluation of the past phase during which he was in charge of coaching the first football team.”

Since July 2022, Santo has been the manager of the Tigers. He assumed the position eight months after Tottenham fired him.

In his 56 games as the Saudi club’s gaffer, he only lost eight of them.

According to reports, Laurent Blanc is one of the French managers Al Ittihad may consider hiring to pacify Benzema.

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The 34-year-old was a vital player for the French national team when Blanc was the head coach from 2010 to 2012.

Al-Ittihad won the Saudi Arabian top-flight title last season overcoming a huge competition from the likes of Al Nassr and Al Hilal, with the former signing Cristiano Ronaldo in January to boost their chances of winning the league.

The defending champions are currently 6th on the league table with 21 points, from 12 games so far. They are a whopping 11 points behind league leaders, Al-Hilal.

By Habeeb Kuranga

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