Defending champions France rocked as Karim Benzema ruled out of FIFA World Cup with thigh injury

Updated on Nov 20, 2022 08:38 AM IST

Karim Benzema has been ruled out of the tournament after incurring a thigh injury during training, as confirmed by French football federation.

France's Karim Benzema watches the ball during a training session(AP)
France's Karim Benzema watches the ball during a training session(AP)

Defending champions France on Sunday incurred a massive blow before the start of the 2022 FIFA World Cup as striker Karim Benzema has been ruled out of the tournament after incurring a thigh injury during training, as confirmed by French football federation. The Ballon d'Or winner has been struggling with a muscle problem for sometime and on Saturday, he was forced to leave the training session.

"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," said coach Didier Deschamps in a statement.

Benzema has so far had a spectacular season with Real Madrid where he scored 44 goals in 46 games across competitions as the club won the La Liga title and the Champions League trophy last season. In the 2014 edition of the World Cup, he was France's top scorer however he wasn't part of the victorious 2018 side. 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.

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Since his return to the international team, Benzema has scored 10 goals in 16 appearances.

"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 their campaign against Australia in Group D on Tuesday.

(with Reuters input)

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