Marcelo Gallardo, one step away from directing again: they assure that he will accept the offer from Al-Ittihad of Benzema and Kanté

Marcelo Gallardo has advanced his arrival to football in Saudi Arabia (Photo: Reuters/Agustin Marcarian)
Marcelo Gallardo has advanced his arrival to football in Saudi Arabia (Photo: Reuters/Agustin Marcarian)

The wait could end for Marcelo Gallardo. The winningest coach in the history of River Plate would have his return to football underway almost a year after his farewell to the Núñez club. According to the Saudi Arabian media Ariyadhiah, he Doll He is the one chosen by the Al-Ittihad board and could become the coach of that club.

Sources linked to Gallardo’s environment confirmed to Infobae that negotiations with the Arab club “are advanced”, but they have not yet confirmed that the deal is closed. The situation for the landing of the former coach millionaire would have accelerated after the Spanish Julen Lopetegui gave up directing the team he has Karin Benzema as its biggest star, since his intention is to command a club in the English Premier League.

For its part, from the Argentine environment TyC Sports indicated that, pending his arrival in Saudi Arabia – it could take place during the weekend after his trip -, the 47-year-old coach I would sign a bond for the next 18 months if there are no last minute problems.

It is important to remember that during this year, Gallardo had several polls and received some offers to lead a team again. One of the firm proposals that River’s former number 10 had came from France: Olympique de Marseille He tempted him to join, but his response was negative. These negotiations allow us to establish a precedent to handle the current issue with prudence: rumors from France claimed that the Doll He had accepted that offer from Marseille, but finally did not agree to the conditions.

Another of the offers he had came from Spain. He Sevilla He tempted him after the departure of José Luis Mendilibar, who although he had just won the Europa League with the Andalusian team, did not have a good start in the Spanish league and was dismissed. To replace him, the one who finally arrived was the Uruguayan Diego Alonso. Something similar happened with Lyon, which has Nicolás Tagliafico in the squad. Polls, proposals or even rumors that have not come to fruition since November 13, 2022, when he permanently left the River Plate bench.

Gallardo will direct Karim Benzema, the great figure of Al Ittihad (REUTERS/Ahmed Yosri)
Gallardo will direct Karim Benzema, the great figure of Al Ittihad (REUTERS/Ahmed Yosri)

Since his farewell to Millionairethe other clubs that sounded like possible destinations for Gallardo were Paris Saint Germain y Monaco (he had a career as a footballer), Napoli, Leeds United y Villarreal, among other institutions. Beyond the polls, as it turned out, the negotiations did not advance and Marcelo preferred to continue enjoying his family and other activities outside of football, something that during his time as a coach he could not do because he was dedicated to his daily work.

In relation to the squad that will receive at Al Ittihad, it should be noted that, beyond being able to coach Benzema, one of the great scorers in world football in recent times who left Real Madrid to wear the jersey of the Arab team, they are other figures that the coach who won two Copa Libertadores under River could lead.

One of them will be N’Golo Kanté – The Best Of N’Golo Kanté. The 32-year-old midfielder, who became world champion with the France team in Russia 2018, left Chelsea to move to Saudi Arabia. Another who followed in the Frenchman’s footsteps was Fabinhoa 30-year-old Brazilian midfielder who arrived from Liverpool.

Names like those of Marcelo Grohe (Brazilian goalkeeper who played for Gremio until 2019 and was champion of America in 2017), the defender Luiz Felipe (another native of Brazil who played for Lazio and Betis) and Romarinhoan experienced forward who was champion of the Libertadores in 2012 with Corinthians, are some of the footballers that the Doll would be in charge.

How is the situation of the Arab team? After 13 rounds of the Saudi Super League, Al-Ittihad is in 5th place in the table with 24 points as a result of seven wins, three draws and three losses, and is 11 points behind the leader, Al Hilal. Furthermore, in the Asian Champions League, they appear at the top of their group, C.

The next commitment of the team located in the city of Jeddah will be on November 24, after the FIFA date, against Al Ettifaq, led by Steven Gerrard and with Jordan Henderson and Giorgino Wijnaldum in their ranks.

Another objective in orbit will be participation in the Club World Cup. After achieving the ticket by winning the local league, they took over their place as the team of the country organizing the competition. For this reason, they will play the first round against Auckland City of Australia. If they manage to advance, in the next instance they will play against Al Ahly FC and would only meet Fluminense if they manage to reach the semifinals.

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