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  • Ahmed Saleh

Ittihad, Saudi league champions, face setback as Fabinho injured, out 10 weeks

JEDDAH — Ittihad, the reigning champions of the Saudi Professional Football League, has encountered a significant setback following the injury of Brazilian midfielder Fabinho, who is expected to be sidelined for approximately 10 weeks.

According to a statement released on Thursday, Ittihad confirmed that the 30-year-old former Liverpool and Real Madrid player has sustained a muscle injury to the thigh, which extends to a tendon within the muscle tissue and requires a 10-week treatment period.

This injury adds to Ittihad's existing challenges this season, as they have struggled with several other injuries, forcing Fabinho to play in central defense previously, which has had an impact on the team's overall performance. Consequently, the club has been unable to defend its league title and currently holds the fourth position, trailing 25 points behind the league leader, Al Hilal.

Moreover, Ittihad faced an early exit from the FIFA Club World Cup in Jeddah and has not seen notable improvements under the guidance of Argentine coach Marcelo Gallardo, who took over from Portuguese coach Nuno Espirito Santo.

The team's challenges were further highlighted as they were eliminated from the AFC Champions League in the quarter-finals following successive defeats to Al Hilal, notably in the absence of their injured striker Karim Benzema. The upcoming semi-finals of the King's Cup will once again see Ittihad facing off against their rivals, Al Hilal, in what promises to be a challenging matchup.

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