France forward and Ballon D’Or winner Karim Benzema has been ruled out of the FIFA World Cup 2022 with a thigh injury, the French National team confirmed on Saturday.
“Hit in the quadriceps of the left thigh, Karim Benzema is forced to give up participating in the World Cup. The whole team shares Karim’s sadness and wishes him a speedy recovery,” Les Blues wrote on Twitter.
“I am extremely sad for Karim who had made this World Cup a major objective. Despite this new blow for the French team, I have full confidence in my group. We will do everything to meet the huge challenge that awaits us,” said coach Didier Deschamps in a statement.
Earlier, the forward was reported to have left the training early with discomfort, L’Equipe reported.
Benzema and Manchester United defender Raphael Varane trained with the French team for the first time in Qatar, but the former’s session reportedly came to an abrupt end.
“In my life I have never given up but tonight I have to think of the team as I have always done so reason tells me to leave my place to someone who can help our group to make a good World Cup,” Benzema posted on his Instagram page.
The Real Madrid striker had been recovering from muscle fatigue while playing for the Los Blancos and a suspected injury may just dent the hopes of title defence for France in Qatar 2022.
Benzema would be the first Ballon d’Or winner not to play in a World Cup since England’s Kevin Keegan in 1978.
France is already without Paul Pogba, N’Golo Kante and Christopher Nkunku because of injury.
France is drawn in Group D, alongside Denmark, Australia and Tunisia and will start its World Cup campaign against Australia on November 23.