Karim Benzema Is Out of World Cup 2022

Karim Benzema, the Real Madrid forward thought to be essential to France’s aspirations of becoming the first team in more than a half-century to retain the World Cup, has been forced to withdraw from the tournament with an injury only 24 hours before it begins.

Benzema, 34, injured his left thigh during a training session on Saturday after winning the Ballon d’Or, the renowned honor that determines the world player of the year, last month. He was instantly ruled out of France’s opening game against Australia, but scans subsequently revealed that the damage was serious enough that he would not be able to recuperate in time to compete in the tournament.

“I’ve never given up in my life but tonight I have to think of the team, as I have always done,” Karim Benzema wrote on Instagram. “Reason tells me to give my place to someone who can help our squad have a great World Cup.”

The French coach, Didier Deschamps, said he felt “very sad” for Benzema, who “had made this World Cup a huge goal.” Benzema missed France’s 2018 World Cup win as part of a year-long exile from the national team due to a blackmail scandal. Deschamps has 24 hours to appoint a substitute under World Cup regulations.

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