Monday, March 4News That Matters

Hugo Lloris speaks out on ‘forcing’ Benzema out of France World Cup squad in Qatar

Hugo Lloris has rubbished reports that claim he didn’t want Karim Benzema in the France camp during the 2022 World Cup.

The Real Madrid forward was named in the Les Blues squad and was set to play a leading role after his Ballon d’Or success.

But he suffered an injury on the eve of the competition and was forced to sit out for several weeks with Olivier Giroud replacing him in the team.

Benzema did recover in time for the knockout stages but France chose to stick with the squad. There were rumours of senior members of the squad blocking a potential recall for the striker – an idea that the Tottenham shot-stopper has dismissed.

He told l’Equipe of those accusations: “There are a lot of things that have been said, which are either false or ridiculous: the atmosphere was very good before he left, and very good after.

“But we would all have preferred that the Ballon d’Or winner, when we see what he has brought since his return, could be with us. He’s still a major asset!

“To say that we would have pushed for him to leave is completely false, and I do not see how we would benefit from that. He was essential for 18 months, he helped us win the Nations League, his return would only have been positive.

“It is really dishonest to claim that some of us were in favour of his departure. When you approach a World Cup, you want to do it with your best players.”

Benzema, who spent several years out of the France team, has since called time on his international career, as has Lloris.

The Tottenham goalkeeper concedes the squad were in shock when it was discovered that Benzema’s injury had forced him to leave the camp.

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