Defending world champions France have enjoyed a great run at Qatar, having already secured a semifinal berth. They faced a tough fight from England in their last round but came up clutch to progress and are now just two games from defending their title.
What makes their run more special is the fact that the team is lacking some of its biggest stars through injury. N’Golo Kante, Paul Pogba, and Christopher Nkunku are just a few of the several names missing from Les Bleus. However, the most notable absentee is Karim Benzema.
The French striker was initially called up to the squad in Qatar but suffered a thigh injury just days before the team’s first game. His participation was subsequently ruled out, but shocking news about Benzema’s situation has now come to light via MARCA.
The Spanish outlet report that the veteran had recovered a while ago and that he could have easily been part of the team for their Round of 16 clash. The decision to send him home is seen as a hasty call.
The 34-year-old sustained a thigh injury on November 19 and manager Didier Deschamps definitively ruled him out of the tournament on November 29, amidst reports claiming that he could return to the squad.
On the same day, Benzema took off for a vacation at the Reunion Islands before eventually returning to Madrid to resume training.
While he may have not returned to the national team camp, Benzema’s name has not been removed from the France squad as Deschamps did not call for any replacement. Thus, the player could, in theory, get a medal if his team wins the World Cup in Qatar.
The 2022 Ballon d’Or winner had an imperious season in 2021/22 but has had a relatively rough start to the new campaign.
In his injury-ridden season so far, he has played just seven league games for Los Blancos, scoring five goals and providing one assist in the process. In the UEFA Champions League, however, he is yet to open his tally.
Having now returned to full training with Real Madrid, he will be hoping to enjoy an injury-free season from this point on and help Los Blancos retain their La Liga and UEFA Champions League crowns.
€85 million-rated Serie A winger ‘dreams’ of playing for Real Madrid, claims father
Napoli winger Khvicha Kvaratskhelia dreams of playing for Spanish giants Real Madrid, the winger’s father has revealed following the UEFA Champions League clash between the two teams last night.
Kvaratskhelia, 22, exploded upon arriving at Napoli last year, leading them to the Serie A title on the back of his explosive performances.
The Georgian winger has been impressing in the ongoing campaign as well, although he failed to score or assist in either of Napoli’s meetings with Real Madrid in the Champions League group stages.
Kvaratskhelia has previously spoken about how he has always been a lifelong supporter of Real Madrid and grew up idolising some of the club’s legends like Cristiano Ronaldo and Guti, among others.
Now, the 22-year-old winger’s father has revealed that his son has always dreamt of and continues to dream of playing for Real Madrid.
As quoted by Fabrizio Romano, Kvaratskhelia’s father said: “Khvicha always dreamed and still dreams of playing for Real Madrid. I am sure about it.”
Talking about the fact that the winger got to play against Real Madrid, Kvaratskhelia’s father added: “For Khvicha, playing vs Real Madrid was special. In my family, everyone is a Real Madrid supporter, except me.”
Real Madrid are in the market for attacking reinforcements, but they are looking for a centre-forward next summer and have Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland as their main targets.
As for Kvaratskhelia, whose market value stands at €85 million, it seems quite apparent that he harbours dreams of playing for Real Madrid. But it remains to be seen if there is some interest from Los Blancos in signing the winger.