France manager Didier Deschamps has categorically ruled out Karim Benzema making a shock return to the team for Sunday’s World Cup final.
Les Bleus take on Argentina for football’s greatest prize in Qatar, and there were claims Benzema could be set to make an appearance due to the nation’s injury and illness crisis.
GettyBenzema was ruled out of the World Cup before the tournament started and will not be coming back for the final
Real Madrid Benzema was forced to withdraw from the France squad on the eve of the tournament due to a thigh injury.
He flew back to Europe to begin treatment and was not expected to be seen at the World Cup in a huge blow for the 2022 Ballon d’Or winner.
However, he has since returned to full training with the La Liga and Champions League winners, and even played in a friendly earlier this week.
This prompted claims he could return to the France squad in Qatar in time for the final, which would be a welcome addition.
Illness has spread through the France camp this week, with Raphael Varane and Ibrahima Konate joining Kingsley Coman, Dayot Upamecano and Adrien Rabiot all victims to the bug – although all trained in full on Saturday.
France also lost full-back Lucas Hernandez early on in the tournament, having been injured in the group-stage win over Australia.
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Because Benzema’s injury occurred so close to the start of the finals, a replacement could not be called up and so the striker is still registered as one of the initial 26-strong pool available to Deschamps.
The boss refused to answer a question on Benzema’s potential return following the 2-0 semi-final win over Morocco.
But now, ahead of the final, Deschamps has insisted he will only be working with the 24 players currently in the squad.
“I know that some players have been injured, Karim Benzema is one of those, Lucas Hernandez got injured in the first game and from that point onwards I’ve got 24 players in my squad,” Deschamps said.
“They are the players at my disposal. So I don’t think it is fair to those players to ask about players who aren’t here.
gettyDeschamps says he will only be working with the players currently in his squad, amid claims Benzema could return
“It is not up to me to decide who comes to watch the game, former players or injured players, it really isn’t up to me.
“I focus on my squad and the players at my disposal. I lost those players from my squad even though they were in it to begin with.”
Benzema has scored 37 goals in 97 caps for France but has a chequered history with the national team, having not been called up between 2015 and 2021.
The 34-year-old posted a cryptic message on Instagram on Friday – a selfie with the words “I don’t care” as the caption.
Instagram: KarimBenzemaBenzema posted this cryptic message on Instagram on Friday night, two days before France’s World Cup final vs Argentina
Reports in Spain this week have reported that Benzema is ‘outraged’ with Deschamps over his decision, and even that the striker was ‘asked to leave’ the France camp following his injury.
Madrid-based newspaper Libertad also claim Benzema recovered from his injury quickly, but was never offered a route back into the team, as Deschamps apparently ‘does not want him’.
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Originally Posted By Talk Sport