French striker Karim Benzema has been ruled out of the World Cup after suffering an injury to his left thigh during training in Doha on Saturday, the French federation has confirmed.
In the year
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After an MRI, it was confirmed that Benzema has suffered a muscle tear that will require a three-week recovery period.
In the year The 2022 World Cup, which starts on Sunday and ends on December 18, will now be the first since 1978 without a Ballon d’Or winner.
France begin their defense of their 2018 World Cup title against Australia on Tuesday. According to FIFA rules, they have 24 hours before their first game to name a replacement.
Other options France have in their squad include 2018 star Kylian Mbappe as well as Antoine Griezmann, Olivier Giroud, Marcus Thuram and Ousmane Dembele.
“I am very sorry for Karim, who made this World Cup his main goal,” coach Didier Deschamps said in a statement. “Despite this new injury for the French team, I have full confidence in my team. We will do everything to face the big challenge that awaits us.”
Benzema announced his retirement in a post on Instagram.
“I have never given up hope in my life but tonight as always I have to think about the team,” he said. “That’s why I’m giving my place to someone who can help our team win a good World Cup. Thanks for all the messages of support.”
France’s preparations in Qatar were marred by injuries to RB Leipzig forward Christopher Nkunku and Paris Saint-Germain centre-back Presnel Kimpembe.
Eintracht Frankfurt’s Randall Kolo Muani and Monaco’s Axel Desassi were selected as replacements.
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Benzema was France’s top scorer at the 2014 World Cup but did not feature in their 2018 World Cup campaign.
Deschamps called him up at last year’s European Championship, where he was France’s top scorer with four goals.
The 34-year-old had an excellent season with Real Madrid last season, finishing as top scorer in La Liga with 27 goals and the Champions League (15 goals) to lead the Spanish giants to both major trophies.
However, he has struggled with injuries in the first part of this season.
He played just 26 minutes last month due to muscle fatigue, his first training with the French team since their meeting on Saturday.
Deschamps had hoped the striker could recover in time, but Saturday’s injury has now ruled him out.
Even before the French coach named his squad, Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kante are out with long-term injuries – two key players. Les Bleus He won the World Cup in Russia four years ago.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.