The dismissal of Portuguese Nuno Santo from coaching the Saudi club Al-Ittihad led to the revelation of some of the behind-the-scenes of the decision, in which French striker Karim Benzema, the team’s captain, had a role.
Sources within the federation confirmed that Karim Benzema spoke two weeks ago with club management officials and asked them to dismiss Nuno Santo, because his presence hinders the team’s development, and because he believes that the Portuguese coach does not suit the ambitions of the current stage, according to Al-Riyadiah newspaper.
The sources indicated that Benzema got into an argument with Santo between the two halves of Al-Ittihad’s match against Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya, on Monday, as he refused for the Portuguese coach to direct any individual remark to him, after he asked him not to be lazy in putting pressure on the defenders.
Nuno Santo rejected what Karim Benzema said, and told him that he is the team leader and a great player and must be a role model for his teammates, before he continued to criticize the French striker, between halftime of the match that ended in a 2-0 loss.
The Saudi Jeddah Club, Ittihad Club, announced the dismissal of its Portuguese coach, Nuno Santo, from his position, after evaluating the team’s results during the last period.
The club issued a statement in which it thanked Nuno Santo, announcing that assistant coach Hassan Khalifa would assume responsibility for training the team until a new technical director is hired, and the Al-Ittihad technical staff is reconstituted.
Al-Ittihad played 17 matches in various tournaments under the leadership of Nuno Santo, winning 10, drawing 3 and losing 4 matches, so the team found itself in sixth place in the Saudi Professional League standings, 11 points behind leaders Al-Hilal.
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