Karim Benzema left out of Al-Ittihad’s Asian Champions League squad by coach Marcelo Gallardo

Karim Benzema (36) has been left out of Marcelo Gallardo’s Al-Ittihad squad that will compete in the round of 16 of the Asian Champions League this week, reports L’Équipe 

The Saudi Pro League outfit are due to face Uzbek side Navbahor Namangan on Thursday and, according to Spanish outlet AS, Benzema has been left out due to restrictions on the number of foreign players allowed in the competition (5 per team) as well as his lack of conditioning following his absence from the team’s mid-season training camp in January.

Former River Plate coach Gallardo has instead chosen Ahmed Hegazy, N’Golo Kanté, Fabinho, Romarinho and Abderrazak Hamdallah as the five foreign players for the tie. 

The Frenchman has made 15 Saudi Pro League appearances this season, scoring nine goals and providing five assists. As reported in GFFN last week, there is apparently tension between player and coach, owing to the striker’s perceived lack of form and implication in training. 

GFFN | Jack McArdle


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