Al Ittihad pre-season 2023/24: Fixtures and schedule

  • Al Ittihad won the Saudi Pro League for the first time since 2009 last season
  • The club managed by Nuno Espirito Santo has added Karim Benzema, N'Golo Kante and Jota this summer
  • Saudi champions are taking part in a demanding training camp in the mountains
Al Ittihad fans will get their first look at Karim Benzema in pre-season
Al Ittihad fans will get their first look at Karim Benzema in pre-season / -/GettyImages

The former Champions League winning manager Hansi Flick used to say: "Success can't be bought. It's rented. And every day the rent is due."

After winning the Saudi Pro League for the first time in 14 years, Al Ittihad have done their best to financially secure their spot at the top of the pile with the acquisitions of Karim Benzema, N'Golo Kante and Jota.

However, manager Nuno Espirito Santo will be acutely aware that his side are not the only free-spenders in the division. Here's everything you need to know about the club's attempts to gather the necessary rent this pre-season.

Where are Al Ittihad going for 2023/24 pre-season?

Unlike their main rivals for last term's title Al Nassr, Al Ittihad are staying within the confines of Saudi Arabia throughout the entirety of pre-season.

The reigning champions will be based in the mountainous city of Taif. The Tigers hail from Saudi's capital, Jeddah, which is located on the coast, 100 miles west of Taif (pronounced tie‐eef).

Once dubbed 'Saudis' Summer Capital' by the New York Times, Taif sits more than 6,000 feet above sea level. These high-altitude conditions should serve as the perfect setting for Nuno's gruelling fitness work.

While in charge of Wolves, Nuno's team collectively lost body fat during the coronavirus-induced lockdown of 2020 by following his training regime - imagine what he can do when barking orders from one metre away.

Al Ittihad pre-season 2023/24 confirmed schedule

Al Ittihad have turned down the chance to participate in any pre-season friendlies. As the club's official Twitter account revealed in June, the Tigers underwent a medical examination on July 5 before heading up to Taif five days later.

According to Arab News, Nuno ensured that the players were "put through their paces with a series of physical exercises aimed at improving fitness and stamina".

The first match action of the new season which Al Ittihad will contest in front of fans does not come until the King Salman Club Cup at the end of July. The competition (also known as the Arab Club Champions Cup) is the first of six tournaments in which Al Ittihad will compete across the 2023/24 campaign.

Alongside the Pro League, King Cup and AFC Champions League, Al Ittihad qualified for the Saudi Super Cup as top-flight champions and will represent the nation as hosts for the FIFA Club World Cup in Jeddah.

Al Ittihad pre-season 2023/24 squad

Al Ittihad's A-list trio of Benzema, Kante and Jota were not afforded any special treatment, riding the coach with the rest of their colleagues to Taif on 10 July. Every player could easily tell if they were in the correct hotel room thanks to the mini LED screen beaming out their picture and squad number from the dresser.

Former West Brom centre-back Ahmed Hegazy was not part of the playing contingent after rupturing his ACL. The Egyptian pillar at the heart of defence is expected to be out until 2024 - although, the club are reluctant to set the target of a return date. Helder Costa has returned to Leeds United after his loan spell last season.

Last season's top scorer Abderrazak Hamadallah will presumably be vying with Benzema for that title in the coming campaign and will be able to compare himself to the reigning Ballon d'Or holder as they share the pitch in pre-season.


On this week's edition of Talking Transfers, part of the 90min podcast network, Scott Saunders is joined by Toby Cudworth and Graeme Bailey to discuss Brighton rejecting Chelsea's bid for Moises Caicedo, Man City closing in on Josko Gvardiol, Harry Maguire's uncertain Man Utd future and more!

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