Ballon d’Or winner, Karim Benzema will not be playing for France in the 2022 World Cup in Qatar after tearing a muscle in his left thigh.
The French Football Federation said 34-year-old Benzema suffered an injury in training earlier on Saturday, November 19, and would require a three-week recovery period.
Coach Didier Deschamps in a statement;
“I am extremely sad for Karim who had made this World Cup a major objective. Despite this new blow for the French team, I have full confidence in my group. We will do everything to meet the huge challenge that awaits us.”
The French football federation (FFF) said;
“Karim Benzema is out of the World Cup.
“After hurting the quadriceps on his left thigh the Real Madrid striker is forced to give up on taking part in the World Cup.
“He went for an MRI scan in a hospital (clinic) in Doha, which unfortunately confirmed a tear.”
Benzema had a stellar season with Real Madrid last season, scoring 44 goals in 46 games in all competitions as he helped guide them to a LaLiga and Champions League double.
He was France’s top scorer at the 2014 World Cup, but was not part of their victory in the 2018 edition, having only returned to the France team last year following a six-year absence.
A blackmail scandal and his comment that Deschamps had “bowed to the pressure of a racist part of France” when leaving the forward, a Muslim of Algerian descent, out of the Euro 2016 squad, was followed by international exile.
Since his return to the international team, Benzema has scored 10 goals in 16 appearances.
Forward Christopher Nkunku was injured just minutes before the end of the team’s previous training session on Tuesday evening and has since been replaced in the squad by Randal Kolo Muani.
Deschamps is already missing midfielders Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kante, who helped France win the World Cup four years ago.
Even without Benzema, France still has a strong attack to face Australia in their first World Cup match. They are likely to start with Olivier Giroud as the central striker, flanked by 2018 World Cup star Kylian Mbappe and either Barcelona’s Ousmane Dembele or veteran Antoine Griezmann.