Nov 15, 2023, 11:02 ET
One year after his last game as the coach of River Plate, Marcelo Gallardo will finally take charge of a team again, and his new destination will be Al Ittihad, the reigning champion of the Saudi Arabian league.
This news was confirmed by Mariano Closs on ESPN F12: “Al Ittihad is the team that has hired Marcelo Gallardo. They have players like Benzema, Fabinho, and Kanté. It’s a team that will participate in the Club World Cup.”
While awaiting official confirmation from the club, Gallardo is expected to travel in the next few hours to finalize an 18-month contract, with the option to extend it for another 18 months.
— ESPN Fútbol Argentina (@ESPNFutbolArg) November 15, 2023
Following the departure of Portuguese coach Nuno Espírito Santo, Gallardo emerged victorious in the battle against Spanish coach Julen Lopetegui to secure the position.
Gallardo has been out of management since November 13, 2022, when his River Plate team defeated Real Betis 4-0 in a friendly match at the Malvinas Argentinas Stadium in Mendoza. That marked the end of his successful tenure with the club, having overseen 425 games with 228 wins, 111 draws, and 86 losses. His teams scored 756 goals and conceded 367. Most notably, he led River Plate to an impressive tally of 14 titles.
Where is Gallardo Going?
Currently, Al-Ittihad sits in fifth place in the Saudi Arabian First Division, having played 13 games and accumulated 24 points from seven wins, three draws, and three losses. It is worth noting that they are 11 points behind the league leaders, Al Hilal.
Marcelo Gallardo will have the opportunity to work with notable figures such as Karim Benzema, N’Golo Kanté, Fabinho, and Luiz Felipe, among others.