Real Madrid star Karim Benzema was all set to lead France in its FIFA World Cup defence, following his Ballon D’Or win earlier this year.
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But the forward was ruled out of the Qatar 2022 with a thigh injury, which he sustained during a pre-tournament training camp.
France coach Didier Deschamps then decided not to replace Benzema in his World Cup squad, leaving the reigning champions with 25 players for their title defence.
Though there were reports that Benzema might make a comeback into the team’s World Cup plans after making a dramatic recovery, as suggested by reports from France, he was later spotted holidaying at the Indian Ocean island of Reunion.
When asked about Benzema, who is still officially part of the France squad at the World Cup, Deschamps dismissed the question.
“You are fishing for things there, but these things are not on my mind. I don’t know who is saying what, where or how,” the France coach said at a press conference in Doha ahead of Wednesday’s final group game against Tunisia.
“I spoke to Karim after his departure, and you know what his situation is and how long he will be out for. I am focusing on the 24 players who are here. I’ll let you talk about that and debate it if you want, but I am not going to talk about things that don’t affect what we are doing here from day to day.”
Benzema returned to the national side for last year’s European Championship, after having missed France’s title-run in 2018, following a disciplinary issue
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