KARIM BENZEMA could be dropped by Al-Ittihad due to a “tense conflict” with manager Nuno Espirito Santo.
The Ballon d’Or winner, 35, joined the Saudi Arabian club back in June after departing Real Madrid.
He kicked off life in the Middle East with three goals in four games in the Arab Club Champions Cup.
However, the £3.3 million-a-week star has failed to hit the back of the net in their opening two league matches – both of which Al-Ittihad won.
According to Saudi outlet Asharq Al-Aswat, Nuno is considering axing Benzema from his starting line-up.
Relations between the Real Madrid legend and the ex-Tottenham head coach are reportedly “tense”.
Nuno is not thought to be a fan of Benzema’s style of play and it is understood it was not his decision to sign the Frenchman.
Meanwhile, Benzema is said to have complained about “being treated unprofessionally by his coach”.
And a situation surrounding the club captaincy has strained relations further.
Benzema had agreed to be skipper as part of his transfer negotiations with Al-Ittihad – who won the Saudi Pro League title under Nuno last season.
But following his arrival, Nuno then gave club legend Romarinho the armband.
And friction between Benzema and his manager have led to the striker reportedly failing to show up for training.
It is understood something needs to be done to fix the issue and Benzema is in danger of being frozen out if it cannot be resolve.
Meanwhile, fans have been left stunned by the situation.
One social media user said: “If a 5x champions league winner doesn’t fit into his style, then maybe Nuno has no style.”
Another added: “Benzema can win any team a trophy, they’re missing out.”
A third replied: “If Benzema doesn’t fit in your tactical style, you have no tactics.”
While a fourth responded: “He’s your best player. Find a way to build the team around him, Nuno.”
Benzema scored 354 goals in 648 games across a stunning 14-year stint with Real Madrid. – The Sun.