Wednesday, April 24News That Matters

Karim Benzema ends France World Cup talk with defiant statement

Karim Benzema has hinted he has no intentions of returning to the France squad for the World Cup final in Qatar – despite recovering from his injury.

The Real Madrid star picked up a thigh issue on the eve of the tournament and has since missed Les Bleus’ six games in Qatar as they won five of those on route to the final.

But, unlike the rest of their injury-stricken players, Didier Deschamps decided not to replace Benzema in the rare possibility he could be fit to play some part.

Paul Pogba, N’Golo Kante, Kimpembe and Christopher Nkunku were ruled out entirely from the France squad and all four of them were replaced, but Benzema’s situation was different.

Having recovered from the injury he picked up, there was a slight opportunity the 34-year-old could fly out to Doha in an attempt to be in the team for the final.

But it appears that Benzema has turned that chance down after posting an emphatic message on Instagram.

In a post, Benzema said as translated into English: “I’m not interested”. The caption was led by a selfie from him with the player looking a unimpressed after reports suggested he could return to the France squad.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Karim Benzema (@karimbenzema)

Benzema is believed to be in full training back with his club and was given the go-ahead by Real Madrid to return to the Middle-East, or be at Lusail Stadium in any capacity.

Should France eventually lift the trophy for the third time, Benzema will be in line for a winners’ medal – but it seems unlikely he will collect that in person.

Relevo reported on Thursday that the striker has been left disappointed by Deschamps’ lack of enthusiasm about a reunion – hinting that was a possible reason behind the player’s snub.

France booked their place in the World Cup final with a hard-fought 2-0 victory over Morocco on Wednesday.

When asked about the possibility of Benzema returning after the match, Deschamps said: “I don’t really want to answer that question. Next question.” He then started grinning as he turned his head and said ‘I do apologise.’

He was asked about Benzema also in the group stages and batted the question away. “Wow. Well, I’m not sure [what to say], that’s really not something that I’m thinking about,” he said at the time. “You seem to know a lot about the situation but I haven’t really been following who has been saying what.”

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