Karim Benzema has explained that he has to ‘think about the team’ after withdrawing from the French World Cup squad 24 hours before the tournament started.
The Real Madrid striker, who scooped the Balon D’or award for his efforts last season, had been training individually as he looked to recover from an injury sustained playing club football.
However, upon returning to full training, he suffered a thigh injury, which is expected to see him sidelined for three weeks, ruling him out of the tournament in the latest major blow to Didier Deschamps.
The current world champions had already lost Paul Pogba, N’Golo Kante and Mike Maignan to injury before they revealed their final 26-man squad, and have since also seen Presnel Kimpembe and Christopher Nkunku both withdraw through injury too.
Didier Deschamps has already confirmed that he will not call up a replacement for Benzema, meaning that his spot in the starting XI will likely be handed to former Arsenal man Olivier Giroud, allowing the French side to reunite their frontline that worked so well four years ago.
And, taking to social media, Benzema explained that while he could have an outside chance of being fit for the final in a month’s time, he has decided to withdraw for the good of France.
“In my life I have never given up but tonight I have to think about the team as I have always done so reason tells me to leave my place to someone who can help our group make a good World Cup”, the Frenchman wrote on social media. “Thank you for all your messages of support”
France face Australia on Tuesday to kick off their World Cup campaign, while they also have Denmark and Tunisia in their group.