Karim Benzema returns to Al-Ittihad training following links with European return

Karim Benzema (36) has returned to first-team training at Al-Ittihad following strong links to a return to Europe during the January transfer window. 

The AFP revealed in January that just months after his arrival from Real Madrid on a free transfer, Benzema had asked to leave Al-Ittihad, citing the Frenchman’s inability to produce his best form in the context of intense scrutiny and “pressure”. Benzema’s performances have drawn criticism from fans and pundits alike in the Gulf State, however, the former Real Madrid forward’s entourage have always denied that he wants to leave Al-Ittihad. 

Benzema had notably been linked with a return to Olympique Lyonnais, as well as a potential shock move to Manchester United. However, Saudi authorities wanted to prevent Benzema from leaving Saudi Arabia, in a move that would have done damage to the image of the Saudi Pro League. 

A move to another Saudi club in Riyadh was touted by L’Équipe later in January, but after a period of exile, Benzema has now returned to first-team training ahead of the continuation of the domestic season in the Gulf State, as shown by images shared on Al-Ittihad’s social media channels. 

GFFN | Luke Entwistle

 

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