Karim Benzema, a standout for France, tore a muscle in his left thigh during practice and is now out of the World Cup in Qatar.
The loss of Benzema adds to injury for a France team already without crucial players as they attempt to defend the crown they won in Russia four years ago.
According to a statement issued by the French Football Federation, “Karim Benzema was forced to cut short the team training session after suffering pain in his left quadriceps.”
“Having discussed his options with Dr Franck Le Gall and the Real Madrid striker, [France coach] Didier Deschamps confirmed Karim Benzema will miss the World Cup.”
“He underwent an MRI at a hospital in Doha, which unfortunately confirmed a rectus femoris injury, which will require a three-week recovery period.”
France coach Didier Deschamps said: “I am unfortunate for Karim, who made this World Cup a major goal of his. Despite this new blow for the French team, I have full confidence in my group. We will do everything to meet the immense challenge that awaits us.”
Karim @Benzema has pulled out of the World Cup with a thigh injury.
The whole team shares Karim's disappointment and wishes him a speedy recovery?#FiersdetreBleus pic.twitter.com/fclx9pFkGz
— French Team ⭐⭐ (@FrenchTeam) November 19, 2022
Meanwhile, Benzema wished his teammates well and insisted that his replacement would play a more significant part in Qatar in the coming weeks.
“I appreciate all of your encouraging messages. The rationale instructs me to give up my position to someone who can help our team have a successful World Cup,” Benzema wrote. “In my life, I have never given up, but tonight I have to think about the team as I have always done.”
Possible options to replace Benzema
According to L’Equipe, Wissam Ben Yedder, Moussa Diaby, and Anthony Martial are the three front-runners.
According to the article, Yedder, the captain of Monaco, may have an advantage because he is already vacationing with his family in Doha. The 32-year-old has made 21 appearances for his team this season and has earned 19 caps for his nation.
Diaby, a star for Bayer Leverkusen, has also been in excellent form this year, scoring eight goals for the German team while playing wide.
Martial has scored four goals in only three starts this season for Manchester United.
NOT available for France ???#WorldCup2022 #Qatar2022
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) November 19, 2022
Raphael Varane returns to training ahead of the first World Cup game
Raphael Varane, a centre-back for Manchester United, has resumed full training with France in preparation for the 2022 World Cup, according to L’Equipe.
Before their opening group match against Australia on Tuesday, the former Real Madrid and Lens midfielder gave France coach Didier Deschamps a conditioning boost.
While exercising separately from the group, Varane joined for his first session in Qatar. After three weeks of regaining his fitness, he is now ready to play.
Despite the thigh ailment, Deschamps called Varane, one of the team’s most seasoned leaders.
Varane’s participation in the lineup for the game on Tuesday is doubtful. Still, he will be fit for the remaining matches.
Tuesday will mark the start of the World Cup for Les Bleus against Australia; Tunisia and Denmark are their group’s other opponents.