Karim Benzema's agent confirms he could have played for France at the World Cup, he was 'banished' by Didier Deschamps instead
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The curious case of Karim Benzema's absence from the 2022 FIFA World Cup has been the source of much speculation in recent weeks, but now the player's agent has added fuel to the fire by publishing evidence that he was indeed fit to play for France during the knockout stages.
The 35-year-old had been all but ruled out of the tournament before a ball was kicked in Qatar, having picked up a knock. With this in mind, France's new record goalscorer Olivier Giroud deputised in the Ballon d'Or winner's absence, going on to score four goals in six games.
To the outside world, it seemed as if Benzema had simply failed to prove his fitness in time to be able to force his way back into France manager Didier Deschamps' plans by the time of the knockout stage. And yet, new evidence seems to suggest that very much isn't the case - and that yet another bust-up could be the reason for his banishment from the French World Cup squad.
According to Karim Djaziri, Benzema's long-time agent, a falling out with Deschamps meant that he declined the chance to return to Qatar for the latter stages of the tournament - even though he was fit to play a part.
The tensions reportedly began to rise after Benzema first got injured, which was initially regarded as minor. With the player preferring to stay with the France squad while it recovery, it is alleged that Deschamps instead sent him back to his club.
In a bid to clear the air on what actually happened behind the scenes, Djaziri took to Twitter to share his side of the story.
Alongside a video showing the extent of his client's pre-World Cup injury, the agent stated: "I put that there but before that I consulted 3 specialists who confirm the diagnosis that Benzema could have been fit from the last 16 to at least be on the bench! Why did you ask him to leave so quickly?"
The fallout in the days following France's defeat in the World Cup Final to Argentina was seismic, as Benzema promptly retired from international duty.
France didn't suffer too much from the forward's absence, and if reports are to be believed, his absence in Qatar may have actually helped the team.
Prior to the tournament kicking off, it was reported by Spanish outlet AS that Antoine Griezmann was annoyed by the amount of social media coverage Benzema was getting in comparison to him.
As we all know, the Atletico Madrid man would go on to have an exceptional World Cup, something which may not have happened had Benzema been more involved.
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Featured Image Credit: Alamy
Topics: Karim Benzema, France, Football World Cup, Didier Deschamps