World Cup: Injury Rules Out French Star Karim Benzema
French international striker Karim Benzema has been ruled out of the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup after suffering an injury in training, the French football federation said.
The Ballon d’Or winner, who has been struggling with a muscle problem, was forced to leave defending champions France’s session earlier on Saturday.
“I am extremely sad for Karim who had made this World Cup a major objective,” said coach Didier Deschamps in a statement.
“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,” Deschamps added.
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 Spanish LaLiga title and the UEFA Champions League.
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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.
Since his return to the international team, Benzema has scored 10 goals in 16 appearances.
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“I’ve never given up in my life but tonight I have to think of the team, as I have always done,” Benzema wrote in an Instagram post.
“So reason tells me to give my place to someone who can help our squad have a great World Cup. Thanks for all your messages of support.”
France, already without Paul Pogba, N’Golo Kante and Christopher Nkunku because of injury, open its campaign against Australia in Group D on Tuesday.