France’s quest for back-to-back World Cups remains on course as they take on England in the 2022 quarterfinals.
Didier Deschamps’ side arrived in Qatar with some doubters due to their shaky form and a number of notable injuries.
They are in fact competing at the 2022 FIFA World Cup without the best player in the world, with recent Ballon d’Or winner Karim Benzema missing from this France team.
Benzema’s relationship with Les Bleus has been turbulent at times and this latest twist came at the worst possible time for both player and country.
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Why is Karim Benzema not playing at the World Cup for France?
Benzema was named in France’s final 26-man squad for the 2022 World Cup but was withdrawn from it just days before the tournament began.
The Real Madrid forward injured his left quadriceps during training and scans the following day saw his journey in Qatar end before it even began.
It was a bitter blow for Benzema, who only returned to national team duties in 2021 after being frozen out of the side for close to six years.
The 34-year-old wasn’t included in the France squad that won the 2018 World Cup and based on his age, it’s unlikely he’ll feature at the next tournament.
This year had been an otherwise brilliant one for Benzema, with the forward winning the 2022 Ballon d’Or as a result of his fine form in front of goal that saw Real Madrid win La Liga and the UEFA Champions League.
De ma vie je n’ai jamais abandonné mais ce soir il faut que je pense à l’équipe comme je l’ai toujours fait alors la raison me dit de laisser ma place à quelqu’un qui pourra aider notre groupe à faire une belle Coupe du Monde. Merci pour tous vos messages de soutien 🙌🏼❤️ pic.twitter.com/SBalX0juAH
— Karim Benzema (@Benzema) November 19, 2022
How long is Karim Benzema out?
Benzema’s latest injury isn’t viewed as a serious one but initial scans did make it clear he could not take any part in the World Cup.
The Frenchman is reportedly back training with Real Madrid, however, and could well be a chance of featuring when they return to La Liga action on December 30.
There were reports Benzema could even be fit enough to return to the France team for the knockout stages but that was always viewed as a long shot and he seems fully focused on recovering properly.
Who replaced Karim Benzema?
The timing of Benzema’s injury meant France could have replaced him on their World Cup squad but decided against doing so.
Deschamps had already brought in two players in the form of Axel Disasi and Randal Kolo Muani as injury replacements.
The fact Benzema was never replaced on the squad means he could still receive a winners’ medal should France manage to lift the title again.
Karim Benzema contract, wages and transfer fee
Benzema has been signed to Real Madrid since 2009 with his current contract set to expire in July 2023.
According to Salary Sport, the Frenchman earns a weekly salary of $335,000 (£275,000) with the club.
Real Madrid paid Lyon €35 million ($36m/£30m) for his services in 2009 and he’s proven a shrewd investment over the years.