Is World Cup in danger for Ballon d'Or winner Karim Benzema?

© EPA-EFE

Reigning world champion France will also start in Qatar as one of the top favorites to win the world title. That is no different with a star ensemble including Kylian Mbappe. But Karim Benzema, Ballon d’Or winner and therefore voted best footballer of the year, might not get fit.

Jeroen DePauw

The 34-year-old Frenchman Karim Benzema has been struggling for a while with a muscle injury. As a result, he has not played for his team Real Madrid for a month. It was always announced that Benzema would make it to the first group match – against Australia – but according to various French media this is not the case.

However, the doctor of the French team, Franck Le Gall, strongly denies: “If everything goes according to plan, he will be fully fit this weekend. Understand that we are always cautious when it comes to muscle injuries. The first steps are never complicated. It is the latter such as the sprint, the accelerations and the attacks with the ball at the foot that are most at risk. But what has been done so far seems good to me,” he explains in a column in Parisian.

If Benzema cannot play, Olivier Giroud of AC Milan is his most logical replacement. Whether Benzema will be fit for the matches against Denmark and Tunisia also remains a big question mark, but according to the French media, it seems to be becoming increasingly unlikely. And that would be a big blow to national coach Didier Deschamps.

Benzema, Thursday during an individual training session in Doha. © EPA-EFE

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