The Saudi Pro League has been dominating headlines in world football ever since the world’s best footballer Cristiano Ronaldo decided to play in their league. The former Manchester United star has been impressive with his performances, despite the fact that he is 38-years-old now.
Watching one of the best footballers likes of Cristiano Ronaldo & Messi in action is still as thrilling and exciting for fans as if they were enjoying their favourite games through rajabets India. However, the Portuguese is not the centre of attention in recent days as the news is dominated by stories about Al-Ittihad.
The defending champions have recently announced they have parted ways with Nuno Espirito Santo after a series of disappointing results this season. The Portuguese joined the Saudi club in 2022 and led them to the Pro League title in his debut season. But despite a huge summer investment to bring the likes of Karim Benzema and Fabinho, he failed to deliver results this season at the King Abdullah Sports City.
Things came to a head when the team lost to Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya in the recent AFC Champions League match. Reports from Relevo suggest Nuno and Benzema clashed in the dressing room after the defeat, with the pair exchanging some harsh words. That prompted the hierarchy to axe the Portuguese boss, and now they are looking to sign a replacement.
Below we look at some of the candidates who can replace Nuno at the club.
1- Zinedine Zidane
Zidane is one of the top managers who is currently available in the market. The 51-year-old has only managed Real Madrid but his tenure at the Santiago Bernabeu saw him winning an incredible three Champions League titles.
Al-Ittihad reportedly want to sign a French manager to please their star player Benzema (per the Daily Mail). They couldn’t find a better coach from a European nation than Zidane, but it is less certain the former attacking midfielder will be keen on a job in the Middle East. The club can offer a lucrative salary but will that be enough to convince him to join a relatively obscure league.
2- Jose Mourinho
Roma’s difficult start to the 2023-24 campaign suggested Mourinho’s third season syndrome is happening again. But that doesn’t seem to be the case now as the Italian outfit have seen a recent resurgence in form, climbing up to seventh in Serie A standings following four wins from five matches.
Mourinho has publicly admitted he is open to coaching in Saudi Arabia, but there are question marks over his suitability for the club. His confrontational style of management may not be a hit with the dressing room that includes several big, star players.
3- Julen Lopetegui
Lopetegui lasted only a few months at Real Madrid before being sacked in 2018. That looked to be a harsh division but the Spaniard’s career didn’t stall after that. He went on to manage Sevilla, leading them to an incredible Europa League title.
Lopetegui left the La Liga outfit in the middle of last season to save Wolverhampton Wanderers from Premier League relegation. The 57-year-old successfully kept them in the English top-flight but didn’t stay on after disagreements with the hierarchy. He could return to management soon by filling the vacancy at Al-Ittihad.
4- Laurent Blanc
Another top French manager available for hire is Laurent Blanc, the former Manchester United defender who won the Fifa World Cup in 1998. The 57-year-old has been out of a job since being sacked by Lyon in October after a poor start to the season.
Blanc boasts experience of managing in the Middle East, having served as Al-Rayyan boss between 2020 and 2022. He has the distinction of winning three Ligue 1 titles with Paris Saint-Germain and one with Bordeaux in 2009. Fans of the gaming and techtimez.com enthusiasts might be familiar with his name because he was also a successful defender and they might have seen him in a FIFA football video game.
5- Graham Potter
Graham Potter received a lot of praise for his work at Brighton & Hove Albion. But the English boss spectacularly failed to replicate those results when he made the switch to Chelsea last year. Despite huge backing in the transfer window, fortunes of the club didn’t revive and he was ultimately booted out.
The decision to appoint Potter by sacking Thomas Tuchel, who led them to Champions League glory, caused a lot of criticism from supporters. But despite the fans’ backlash, the hierarchy still gave him some time but ultimately they decided to sack him.
Graham Potter was a failure at Chelsea but the task wasn’t easy at all. This is evident from the fact that their current boss Mauricio Pochettino is also struggling to transform the club’s fortunes despite months into the job.