France striker Karim Benzema returned to training on Saturday but had to leave the session injured and is now expected to miss Les Bleus’ World Cup opener against Australia on Tuesday.
What’s more, the 2021 Ballon d’Or could even now be a doubt for the whole tournament.
Benzema has been struggling for fitness all season and was forced to miss all of Real Madrid’s last five games in all competitions prior to the World Cup break.
The 34-year-old returned to training on Saturday alongside former clubmate Raphael Varane, who hadn’t played since October because of an injury suffered while playing for Manchester United.
But RMC reported that Benzema wasn’t able to finish the session. It is not thought to be a recurrence of the same hamstring issue that has been affecting him over the last couple of months and tests will be carried out in the remainder of Saturday evening.
However, it doesn’t appear to be good. RMC states that he has already been ruled out of France’s first game in a matter of days. More worryingly, there are concerns that he could yet be forced out of the World Cup altogether.
Were that to be the case, France could still call up a replacement until Monday, which is the day before they play Australia. After that time, the squad as it stands would be locked in.
Didier Deschamps only named 25 players in his squad for the tournament, opting not to fill the maximum quota of 26 players permitted by FIFA.
Harry Symeou hosts Scott Saunders, Brian Goldfarb, Sean Walsh & Ali Rampling from the 90min editorial team to look back on Brazil ’14 as part of the ‘Our World Cups’ series. We take a trip down memory lane – join us!