Benzema's Saudi Dream Turning Sour

Benzema's Saudi Dream Turning Sour



January 15th, 2024

Benzema, the erstwhile Ballon d'Or king, arrived in Saudi Arabia last summer draped in the shimmering robes of expectation. Al-Ittihad, flush with petrodollars and thirsting for continental glory, had secured the footballing deity's signature in a move that sent shockwaves through the transfer market. Yet, barely six months into his reign, the gilded throne appears to be wobbling under the weight of Benzema's mercurial temperament.

The pre-season training camp, a crucible where aspirations are forged and tactical fires stoked, became the stage for a drama worthy of Shakespearean proportions. When his teammates, dutifully heeding the call, reported for duty on January 12th, Benzema, the star attraction, was conspicuously absent. The air, thick with the anticipation of a new season, grew heavy with unease. Whispers, like desert winds rustling through palm fronds, began to carry tales of three prior training sessions Benzema had mysteriously "missed" before the official holiday break.

Marcelo Gallardo, the Argentine tactician entrusted with sculpting Al-Ittihad into a continental contender, refused to bend to the whims of his star pupil. With a steely resolve that mirrored the desert sun's unforgiving glare, Gallardo banished Benzema from the Dubai pre-season tour, a gilded exile that sent tremors through the club's gilded halls.

This isn't the first time Benzema has locked horns with a manager at Al-Ittihad. Nuno Espirito Santo, his predecessor, found himself unceremoniously shown the door in November 2023, whispers of Benzema's discontent swirling like desert dervishes in his wake. Now, with Gallardo at the helm, the discordant melody seems to be playing on repeat.

But amidst the swirling sands of controversy, one undeniable truth remains: Benzema's on-field prowess has been undeniable. Twelve goals in 20 games, a scoring rate that would make even the most jaded desert nomad sit up and take notice, stand as testament to his enduring talent. Yet, the goals, like desert mirages, shimmer with an unsettling unreality. Is this the contented twilight of a gilded career, or the prelude to a dramatic desert storm?

Transfer rumors, the vultures circling high above the Jeddah dunes, add another layer of intrigue to the saga. Manchester United, their pockets as deep as the oil reserves that fuel the Saudi economy, are said to be circling, their sights fixed on the discontented desert king.

For now, Benzema remains in Jeddah, a solitary figure under the unforgiving desert sun. Whether he can mend fences with Gallardo, reclaim his place on the pre-season tour, and write a new chapter in his Arabian adventure, or whether he chooses to vanish into the mirage of a new transfer, remains to be seen. One thing is certain: the sands of discontent have shifted, and Karim Benzema, the once undisputed king of his desert kingdom, finds his crown precariously balanced on a shifting dune.

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img via: Gettyimages

tag: Karim Benzema , Al-Ittihad

Klind Parangoni Author

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