Karim Benzema asks to ‘temporarily leave’ Saudi Pro League after feeling ‘under pressure’

Suraj Radia
Karim Benzema, Al-Ittihad
© ProShots/FootballTransfers

Karim Benzema has asked to ‘temporarily leave’ Al-Ittihad after a ‘tense’ few weeks at the club which saw the Frenchman exiled from the Saudi Pro League side’s mid-season training camp.

Benzema was one of the marquee arrivals in the summer, being the first global superstar to make the move to Saudi Arabia after his contract with Real Madrid expired.

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While Benzema has been relatively successful on the pitch, scoring nine times in 15 games, the 36-year-old has appeared unsettled off it, having missed training on multiple occasions.

The final straw for Al-Ittihad manager Marcelo Gallardo appeared to come earlier this month when Benzema turned up late for the resumption of training after the winter break, with the striker citing a cyclone that hit Mauritius delaying his flight back.

Benzema subsequently did not travel to the United Arab Emirates which his teammates and instead training by himself in Saudi Arabia and RMC Sport are now stating he has asked for a temporary departure from the club.

The former French international is said to be ‘feeling under the pressure’ at the club which has led to him claiming he is unavailable to ‘give the best to Al-Ittihad.’

Benzema has been strongly linked with a move to the Premier League
© ProShots – Benzema has been strongly linked with a move to the Premier League

What next for Karim Benzema?

Benzema still has two-and-a-half years remaining on his contract and is also believed to have turned down the opportunity for a loan move to another club in the Saudi Pro League.

The veteran is thought to prefer a return to Europe, having been linked with moves to the Premier League, with Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United all understood to be monitoring the situation.

Both of Benzema’s former sides, Real Madrid and Lyon, have also been suggested as destinations for the player, with the French outfit in particular thought to be pushing for a loan.

Lyon are hoping their strong relations with Saudi Arabia will help facilitate a move, however the finances behind a deal could prove to be a stumbling block, leading to an unlikelihood that they will be able to secure Benzema’s signing.

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