Ballon d’Or winner Benzema of France exits World Cup due to injury


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Karim Benzema of France looks on during team practice at the Jassim Bin Hamad stadium in Doha, Qatar, November 19, 2022. /CFP

Karim Benzema of France looks on during team practice at the Jassim Bin Hamad stadium in Doha, Qatar, November 19, 2022. /CFP

Karim Benzema of France looks on during team practice at the Jassim Bin Hamad stadium in Doha, Qatar, November 19, 2022. /CFP

2022 Ballon d’Or winner Karim Benzema of France had to exit the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar after injuring his left thigh during team practice on Saturday, the French Football Federation (FFF) confirmed on Saturday.

The Real Madrid veteran, who turns 35 next month, was doing sprints when he felt great pain in his thigh. MRI revealed that he suffered a muscle tear, which can take three weeks to recover. Since France will play against Australia in their first game at Al Janoub Stadium on November 22, Benzema won’t be able to make it in time.

Karim Benzema of France shows up with the Ballon d'Or trophy on the field during the halftime break of the Ligue 1 game between Olympique Lyonnais and OGC Nice at The Groupama Stadium in Decines-Charpieu, France, November 11, 2022. /CFP

Karim Benzema of France shows up with the Ballon d’Or trophy on the field during the halftime break of the Ligue 1 game between Olympique Lyonnais and OGC Nice at The Groupama Stadium in Decines-Charpieu, France, November 11, 2022. /CFP

Karim Benzema of France shows up with the Ballon d’Or trophy on the field during the halftime break of the Ligue 1 game between Olympique Lyonnais and OGC Nice at The Groupama Stadium in Decines-Charpieu, France, November 11, 2022. /CFP

“I am extremely sad for Karim, who had made this World Cup a major objective,” France’s Manager Didier Deschamps said in a statement. “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.”

Benzema confirmed his withdrawal on Instagram as well. “I’ve never given up in my life but tonight I have to think of the team, as I have always done,” he wrote. “So reason tells me to give my place to someone who can help our squad have a great World Cup. Thanks for all your messages of support.”

The last time the World Cup happened without the year’s Ballon d’Or winner participating in the tournament was in 1978 in Argentina. Kevin Keegan of England won the award that year, but the “Three Lions” failed to qualify for the tournament.

Players of France celebrate after winning the FIFA World Cup championship at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, Russia, July 15, 2018. /CFP

Players of France celebrate after winning the FIFA World Cup championship at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, Russia, July 15, 2018. /CFP Read more – CGTN

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