Monday, July 15, 2024

Karim Benzema posts cryptic message amid World Cup return rumours | Football

France striker Karim Benzema has posted a cryptic message on social media just two days before the World Cup final amid rumours he could return to Qatar.

The 34-year-old was forced to miss the tournament after picking up an injury days before the holders’ opening group match, though he was never replaced in the squad.

Benzema has now returned to full training with Real Madrid and, in theory, would be eligible for selection in Sunday’s final against Argentina.

Some French fans would be keen to see the Ballon d’Or winner involved, particularly after Olivier Giroud missed two gilt-edged chances in the semi-final win over Morocco.

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However, manager Didier Deschamps gave a question about Benzema’s possible return short shrift at his post-match press conference on Wednesday and the forward remains in Madrid.

Further twists to the story emerged on Friday, with Spanish publication Libertad Digital claiming Benzema is unhappy with how quickly he was sent packing from Qatar by Deschamps when he first got injured.

The veteran forward reportedly only needed three days of treatment at Real Madrid’s training facility and recovered form his injury weeks ago, meaning he could have been involved in the knockout stages of the World Cup.

Deschamps and Benzema have had a patchy relationship for some time, with the Real striker having been exiled from the squad for the best part of six years – though they appeared to have reconciled prior to the World Cup.

It has also been revealed that French president Emmanuel Macron wants to invite all the squad’s injured players – such as Paul Pogba and Christopher Nkunku – to Qatar to watch the final and join in any potential celebrations, but Benzema had declined the request.

French Minister of Sports, Amelie Oudea-Castera, confirmed Macron’s plan on Thursday, saying: ‘I know he wants to. I know that this is being considered.

‘We will see if logistically and materially, all of this can land. In any case, it is the President’s wish to get them on board, [so] that they can fully take their part in this adventure.’

Benzema actually played in a training-ground friendly against Leganes on Thursday and got through the match without any issues, with Toni Kroos netting in a 1-1 draw.

 

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