Ex-Premier League manager sacked after ‘exchanging insults’ with Karim Benzema

Former Tottenham Hotspur manager Nuno Espirito Santo has been sacked as manager of Al-Ittihad.

The Portuguese boss was appointed by the Saudi Pro League giants in the summer of 2022. He departs the club off the back of a 2-0 defeat to Iraqi side Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya in the Asian Champions League.

Al-Ittihad are also currently residing in sixth position in the table; a low return considering the fact they signed the likes of N'Golo Kante and Real Madrid legend Karim Benzema. However, a quarrel with the latter is believed to have been the factor behind his sacking.

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According to Revelo, the loss in the Asian Champions League sparked a huge argument between Santo and the Ballon d'Or winner. The report claims they both exchanged insults towards each other after the final whistle.

A statement from the Saudi giants said: "the club has announced the end of its contract with Portuguese coach Nuno Espirito Santo. This decision comes after a comprehensive technical evaluation of the past phase during which he was in charge of coaching the first football team."

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The club also confirmed his assistant coach Hassan Khalifa will take over the reigns as they look to sign a replacement. Further reports also stated the relationship between Santo and Benzema had reached "a point of no return."

Former Paris Saint-Germain manager Laurent Blanc, who was recently sacked by Lyon, is rumoured to be in the race for the spot. As well as Benzema and Kante, Al-Ittihad also signed Liverpool midfielder Fabinho for around £40m.

They also signed Portuguese winger Jota from Scottish giants Jota. However, these have not reaped too many rewards, as Al-Ittihad are winless in their last five matches.

Their last victory came on September 21 when they overcame Al Fateh 2-1 at home.

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