Benzema: ‘I’ve never given up, but I have to think about the team’
6 HOURS AGO
Only this brace against Honduras, this goal against Switzerland and this thrilling elimination against Germany will remain. A meager haul for one of the best French players in history. At 34, having won it all with the biggest club in the world, he was facing the biggest challenge of his career.
Karim Benzema training in Doha during the 2022 World Cup
Credit: Getty Images
He will probably miss this big blue adventure forever.
Four years after losing his selection’s world title, the Madrilenian, banned for five years from Clairefontaine, was on a mission to Doha as if to exorcise his demons. They caught him at the worst time, the day before the competition started. His fate is cruel. He will probably miss this great blue adventure forever to inscribe it in the collective legend of his country. Yet he had the talent and the generation to achieve it.
What should we expect from the Blues? “This team is like tossing a big coin in the air”
It is not certain that the Blues would have reached Doha with him. Without him, hope dwindled even further. Because if the crushing blow is terrible for the Madrid player, the earthquake is gigantic for a French team already orphaned of so many managers. The headwinds, numerous for several weeks, suddenly turned into a devastating cyclone. How can you imagine getting by without Pogba, Kanté or Benzema, three of the seven most important men (with Mbappé, Lloris, Griezmann and Varane) of Didier Deschamps?
How can France recover from this?
How can a selection, even with a tank as deep as that of the Blues, recover from the package of the best player in the world and its two best midfielders? Especially as the epidemic has extended to linings (Presnel Kimpembe, Mike Maignan, Christopher Nkunku). No qualifying nation has faced so many withdrawals in a final sprint that it feels like a game of slaughter.
“Whatever the result, it will be the end of Didier Deschamps”
France doesn’t just lose a Ballon d’Or this Saturday, above all they have to do without the one they’ve been betting on for a year. The one for which he changed his system (before going back to it). What made him win the League of Nations. The one who, with Kylian Mbappé, made the whole world tremble in a partnership that had demonstrated his formidable effectiveness. Forced, already, to line up an improvised hinge against Australia, France relied on her fire attack to carry her as far as possible. But the certainties of the Azzurri have never had such a short life as in this moment.
Of course, they are lucky to be able to count on an Olivier Giroud in full swing in Milan and in selection. But without insulting him, the level reached by Benzema, especially last season, gives an idea of the void he leaves. In 2018, alongside Moscow, France were world champions without him. But, four years later, we never imagined him so far from accomplishing the same feat.
Olivier Giroud replaced by Didier Deschamps during a match for France.
Credit: Getty Images
The best matches of the Azzurri at the World Cup (from 30th to 21st): from the first thrill to the great gadin
7 HOURS AGO
Pacco Benzema, the blow for the Blues
8 HOURS AGO