Bad blow for the Blues, Karim Benzema retires

The recent Ballon d’Or winner, who hit his left thigh on Saturday evening during training, is forced to say goodbye to the World Cup.

Special envoy in Doha

The catastrophe. It’s a real cataclysm. Gigantic. Colossal. Injured during training on Saturday evening in Doha, when he took part in the collective session with his teammates for the first time since the start of preparation that began on Monday at the Clairefontaine, Karim Benzema withdrew from the World Cup due to an injury to his left thigh. The Ballon d’Or 2022 with Real Madrid, absent from France for six years, said goodbye to his dreams of participating in the World Cup in Qatar. At 34, except for XXL longevity at this level, he has little chance of competing in the next World Cup in 2026.

For the French team, this is sad news in many ways. Less than three days into the fray against Australia, the selection is deprived of a huge player, the best in the world last season, with a package that adds to the (too) long list of players forced to leave adventuring in Qatar. And not least since it concerns Paul Pogba, N’Golo Kanté, Mike Maignan, Presnel Kimpembe and Christopher Nkunku. A real disaster.

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The Blues will start the World Cup with the attacking world champion in 2018

Karim Benzema during Les Bleus training on Saturday night in Doha FRANCE FIFE/AFP

Didier Deschamps, as authorized by Fifa regulations, can call up a new player until the day before the first match. But the damage is done. Without Karim Benzema, happy to defend the blue shirt and the title of world champion, the tricolors come forward dwarfed in the face of an immense challenge. This package allows Olivier Giroud to find a starting place in the French attack with Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappé alongside him. A trio already glimpsed… in 2018, during the Russian epic. But in the night of Doha France does not smile.

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