France national team striker Karim Benzema has officially pulled out of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar due to a thigh injury.
Benzema, 34, withdrew from the team’s training session on Saturday at the Jassim bin Hammad Stadium and was already ruled out of France’s inaugural match against Australia on Tuesday.
This will be the third consecutive World Cup that Benzema will miss, as confirmed by the French national team.
The Real Madrid forward will be replaced on the starting lineup by Olivier Giroud, who is just three goals away from passing Thierry Henry as France’s top goalscorer in history.
France will also be without the injured N’Golo Kante and Paul Pogba.
Karim Benzema, current Ballon d’Or winner
The current Ballon d’Or winner is showcasing the dangers of playing a winter World Cup, as his body did not have enough time to fully heal from the previous season.
Every Ballon d’Or winner has played in the World Cup since 1982, which makes Benzema’s absence that much more painful.
Anthony Martial will be called up to join the main squad, filling the vacant spot left behind by Benzema.
Les Bleus form part of Group D alongside Australia, Denmark and Tunisia.