Karim Benzema of Real Madrid has recovered from a thigh injury and could return to Qatar to join the France squad ahead of their World Cup final against Argentina on Sunday.
Despite missing the rest of the tournament due to injury, Karim Benzema could play for France in the World Cup final against Argentina.
Benzema was ruled out of the World Cup after suffering a thigh injury in pre-tournament training in Qatar. He returned home to Madrid to begin his recovery, and his chances of competing in the tournament appeared to be over.
The 34-year-muscle old’s tear was given a three-week recovery period, and he left Doha thinking he would be replaced in the squad. Injuries forced him to miss the tournament alongside Paul Pogba, Lucas Hernandez, Presnel Kimpembe, N’Golo Kante, and Christopher Nkunku.
“I’ve never given up in my life, but tonight, as I always do, I have to think of the team,” he wrote on Instagram at the time. “So logic tells me to give my spot to someone who can help our squad have a successful World Cup.”
However, on the eve of France’s first match against Australia, manager Didier Deschamps chose not to replace Benzema. Instead of 26, he worked with 25 players in Qatar and led Les Bleus to the final after a 2-0 win over Morocco on Wednesday night.
Benzema is still listed on the official FIFA World Cup squad. After some rest and relaxation, the Ballon d’Or winner is back in full training with Real Madrid and, according to Mundo Deportivo, could return to Qatar before the final.
Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema is back in full training mode (Image: Antonio Villalba/Real Madrid via Getty Images).
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Real has reportedly granted Benzema permission, and the ball is now in Deschamps’ court. When asked about the possibility following Morocco’s victory, France’s manager did not respond. “I’d like to proceed to the next question,” he said.
Benzema has 37 goals in 97 appearances for France and was the top scorer in the 2014 World Cup. He did not play in the 2018 World Cup in Russia, however, because he was still barred from playing due to his involvement in a sex-tape scandal with then-France teammate Mathieu Valbuena, for which he received a one-year suspended prison sentence and a €75,000 fine for complicity in attempted blackmail.
In Benzema’s absence, Olivier Giroud has led the line for France, scoring four goals in five appearances in Qatar. The former Arsenal striker, 36, has surpassed Thierry Henry to become his country’s all-time leading goalscorer.
On Sunday, he is expected to play alongside Kylian Mbappe, Ousmane Dembele, and Antoine Griezmann once more.
Deschamps used Marcus Thuram and Randal Kolo Muani off the bench in the second half against Morocco. Thuram of Borussia Monchengladbach came on for Giroud but played on the left before Muani of Eintracht Frankfurt came on for Dembele on the right and scored the game-winning goal.
According to reports in Spain, France striker Karim Benzema could make a surprise return to Qatar to play in the World Cup final.
The Real Madrid forward was expected to miss the entire tournament after returning to Spain after suffering a thigh injury the day before the tournament began.
The 34-year-old was expected to be out for three weeks, which meant he had almost no chance of being match fit for the final, with Didier Deschamps’ side having suffered a number of injuries, including Paul Pogba, Christopher Nkunku, Presnel Kimpembe, N’Golo Kante, and Lucas Hernandez.
“So reason tells me to give my place to someone who can help our squad have a great World Cup,” Benzema said of his inability to compete.
Despite the bleak outlook, France did not call up a replacement, with Randal Kolo Muani already joining the team’s forward line as a late addition.
However, the Ballon d’Or winner is now back in training for his club, and Mundo Deportivo reports that he could be called up for the weekend’s game against Argentina.
According to the newspaper, Real Madrid is willing to let the striker return to Qatar, and the decision now rests with Deschamps, who has used a number of attacking players as his side has emerged as one of the best sides of the 2022 tournament, despite many setbacks with injuries to key players in the weeks before the competition began.
Deschamps did not confirm any plans after defeating Morocco, saying, “I’d prefer to move on to the next question.”
In Benzema’s absence, France has been led by Olivier Giroud, the 36-year-old AC Milan forward becoming France’s all-time top goalscorer during the competition, though he could be replaced by his fellow veteran attacker if he proves his fitness.
Along with Muani and Giroud, Antoine Griezmann has provided support in a deeper role than he has previously played, with Kylian Mbappe and Ousmane Dembele also playing in attack, as has Borussia Monchengladbach forward Marcus Thuram.