Real Madrid captain Karim Benzema is in contention for receiving a World Cup medal if France successfully defend their title in Qatar, despite being ruled out through injury.
The 34-year-old striker, who was recalled to the France squad by Didier Deschamps, suffered a thigh injury during training with the 2018 World Cup champions.
According to reports, Benzema was ruled out of action after an MRI scan confirmed his injury would require a “three-week recovery period.”
Benzema’s absence from the World Cup makes him the first Ballon d’Or holder to miss FIFA’s prestigious tournament since 1982.
The France international was named in Deschamps’ 26-man squad for the World Cup, but the French Football Federation confirmed ahead of the tournament that Benzema would not feature for his country due to his injury.
France manager Deschamps opted not to call up a replacement for the world champions ahead of their World Cup opener against Australia on 22nd November.
Benzema, who won France Football’s Ballon d’Or award in October, could still earn himself a long-sought-after World Cup medal if Deschamps’ men retain the title.
The Los Blancos star missed out on a World Cup medal in Russia in 2018 due to his five-and-a-half-year absence from the French national team.
France kicked off their World Cup campaign with a stunning 4-1 victory over Australia before picking up a 2-1 win over Denmark in their second Group D match.
Benzema was potentially tipped to make a return for France in the World Cup knockout stages, but Deschamps has now shut down speculation over the Ballon d’Or winner’s future.
“It’s not something that’s occupying my mind. I don’t know who’s saying what and how,” Deschamps said.
“You know the situation and the time that he needs to recover. I spoke with Benzema after he left us, but I don’t know where you’re going with your question.
“I have 24 players here and I’m thinking about them. I will let you speak, debate, and imagine, but I’m not going to comment on things that don’t concern our daily business.”
According to L’Équipe, Benzema is still a ‘long way’ from returning to full fitness and the France striker is to take a one-week holiday ahead of returning to training with Madrid.
France, who have already secured a place in the World Cup knockout stages, will return to action on Wednesday when they take on Tunisia at the Education City Stadium.
Featured Image Credit: Alamy
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