Marcelo Gallardo is headed to the Middle East…
The 47-year-old Argentine football coach and former professional player, the most successful manager in River Plate history, has accepted an 18-month contract to coach Karim Benzema, Fabinho and N’Golo Kanté at Al Ittihad, according to ESPN.
The Saudi Pro League defending champions reached a deal with the former River Plate manager after they fired Portuguese coach Nuno Espírito Santo last week — just six months after he led them to a title win.
Al Ittihad currently sit fifth in the Saudi league table with a 7-3-3 record, 11 points behind league-leading Al Hilal.
Gallardo last coached one year ago when he led River Plate to a 4-0 win over Real Betis in a friendly held in Mendoza. His overall career record for 425 matches is 228-111-86.
He won 14 trophies in his eight years at the helm since 2014, including three Copa Libertadores triumphs, before leaving in October of 2022 to take a break from coaching.
As a player, he also won six league titles and one Copa Libertadores title with River Plate.
Al Ittihad will face Auckland City on December 12 in the Club World Cup.