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Mystery surrounds Benzema’s absences with Al Ittihad

The French star continues to be absent from Marcelo Gallardo’s Ittihad’s squad selections as the Saudi club continues to claim that the striker is injured.

Mystery surrounds Benzema’s absences with Al Ittihad

2024 has seen the French striker play very little football. Benzema has had his differences with Al Ittihad head coach Marcelo Gallardo and was temporarily frozen out of the squad and now the player is sidelined again due to a spate of injuries. The former Real Madrid forward made a brief return on 18 February, but three games later, Benzema continues to remain out of Gallardo’s squad selection despite local Saudi media maintaining that the player is fully recovered.

Last week, Benzema returned to training with the squad but failed to get called up for the team’s defeat in the Asian Champions League against Al Hilal: “The relationship between Benzema and myself is normal. He is a professional and we are professionals, he trained with us and we are waiting for him to be ready to participate. Karim is an important player as long as he is fully prepared”, stated the Argentine coach.

Karim Benzema of Al Ittihad
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Karim Benzema of Al Ittihad STREFE

In theory, Benzema should have been ready to make a return for the second leg of the quarter-final on Tuesday as the Jeddah Tigers look to turn around a 2-0 first leg deficit but local outlet Arriyadiyah claim that the French star has now picked up a back problem and Gallardo seems set to call upon his eligible foreigners in: Hegazy, Fabinho, Hamdallah and Jota.

Benzema appears at Jeddah F1

The Lyon born striker was caught on camera at the Formula 1 Grand Prix held last weekend in Saudi Arabia and his presence at the race-track has raised controversy among fans of the Jeddah club, who have mostly accused the former Real Madrid player of appearing more on social networks, instead of on the field.