Karim Benzema: Being nicknamed “Kitten”, deleting his Instagram account, unexplained disappearance… Why is the Frenchman’s situation in Saudi Arabia suddenly deteriorating?

According to Saudi media Al-Riyadiya, Al-Ittihad striker Karim Benzema, who was the target of much criticism, left Jeddah. The 2022 Ballon d’Or will not be able to take part in the group of the match against Al-Taï on Saturday (16:00) in the Saudi Pro League.

Where is Karim Benzema? The 36-year-old Frenchman, who arrived as a superstar at Saudi club Al-Ittihad last summer, has drawn the ire of fans after a series of disappointing performances. Cristiano Ronaldo’s defeat against Al-Nassr (5-2) on Tuesday made matters worse.

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Fans who cheered him on in June are now laughing at “kitten” Benzema, disappointed with his performance and investment. No doubt anticipating a new increase of cat photos on social networks, the international player decided to suspend his Instagram account, which is followed by 76 million people with 97 selections.

A hasty departure

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According to the Saudi media Al-Riyadiya, Karim Benzema would skip training on Thursday and Friday and therefore would not be able to be assigned by his new coach Marcelo Gallardo for this Saturday’s match. The former Real Madrid player even left Jeddah for reasons that are still unknown.

This will not restore the Frenchman’s image, which has been greatly damaged in recent weeks. Saudi sports journalist Abdel Karim Al said, “He may be at odds with the club (…) but that doesn’t excuse him because he doesn’t put in any effort, misses too many easy opportunities and seems to have lost the desire to play football.” -Jasser on public channel Al-Ekhbariya.

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“Benzema has let the team down in big matches,” complains fan Amir, who only wanted to give his name, to AFP. “He is the captain of the team but he doesn’t give the impression that he is the leader of the team. He looks misguided, as if he is in another world,” the 35-year-old added.

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The former OL and Real Madrid striker made 20 appearances for Al-Ittihad, scoring 12 goals and providing 5 assists. His team is in sixth place in the rankings (out of 18).

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