Marcelo Gallardo explains Karim Benzema exclusion as ‘purely technical’

Marcelo Gallardo has commented on Karim Benzema’s (36) exclusion from Al-Ittihad’s squad to face PFC Navbahor Namangan in the AFC Champions League. 

It was a controversial decision that appeared to indicate some truth to the rumours of a falling-out between manager and star. There have been constant reports since Gallardo took over from Nuno Espírito Santo in November that the Argentine manager has been unimpressed with Benzema’s mentality in training and critical of his form. 

Since moving from Real Madrid to Saudi Arabia in the summer, the striker has been under heavy scrutiny for his performances, with fans and media alike critical of his level. It’s unclear how settled the forward is in his new environment, and it was even rumoured that the Frenchman had asked to leave Al-Ittihad during the winter transfer window – something Benzema’s entourage adamantly denies. 

Karim Benzema will ‘undoubtedly join the group’

However, Gallardo has explained that his choice was “purely technical.” The Argentine manager continued, “He is currently training alone, after joining the team several days ago. When he is physically and technically ready, he will undoubtedly join the group. This will most likely happen next week.”

GFFN | Nick Hartland

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