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Deschamps on the possibility of recalling Benzema for World Cup final: “Will not answer”

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Photo by FRANCK FIFE/AFP via Getty Images

France booked their place in the finals of the FIFA World Cup 2022 after securing a 2-0 win over tournament darkhorses Morocco on Wednesday night.

Former Real Madrid defender Theo Hernandez and Randal Kolo Muani were on target for the reigning world champions as they set up a date with Lionel Messi and Argentina for the finals later this weekend.

Following their progression to the grand finale, manager Didier Deschamps, who could lead France to back-to-back World Cup triumphs, spoke to the media. And during the interaction, the inevitable questions about a certain Karim Benzema popped up.

The 34-year-old striker was sent back from Qatar after he picked up a thigh injury right before the World Cup started. However, with France opting not to name a replacement, the Real Madrid captain still remains on the squad list.

Recent reports suggested that the decision to send Benzema back was made in haste as he had recovered sufficiently in time to feature for France in the knockout stages.

The 2022 Ballon d’Or winner has completed his recovery fully now and completed five training sessions with Real Madrid. Furthermore, he is expected to play some part in Los Blancos’ friendly against Leganes later tonight.

Given that his name is still on the France squad list, Deschamps was asked if he would recall Benzema to Qatar now that they had made it to the finals and the centre-forward was fully fit.

However, the France manager made his thought about such a move clear as he responded curtly, saying: “I will not answer, next question.”

France have not exactly felt the absence of Benzema as Olivier Giroud has performed well as the striker while Kylian Mbappe has been producing the goods in front of goal as well, with Antoine Griezmann pulling the strings from behind.

So, it does seem extremely unlikely that Deschamps will be making a late call for Benzema to join the rest of the France squad for the World Cup final.

However, some reports suggest that the Real Madrid superstar could still receive a medal if Les Bleus go on to win as his name is still on the squad list.

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Real Madrid News

Ancelotti’s dilemma: How will he handle a fully fit defense next season?

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Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

Real Madrid’s manager, Carlo Ancelotti, is set to face a challenging situation in restructuring his defence for the upcoming season and that is largely down to key players like David Alaba and Eder Militao are returning to full fitness. 

Interestingly, this situation might put Antonio Rudiger’s spot in the starting lineup under significant pressure.

Back when Rudiger joined Real Madrid he was supposed to strengthen a defence already featuring Alaba and Militao. Despite their young age, these two had firmly established themselves in the team. 

Over the past two years, however, Ancelotti has consistently relied on the duo, with Rudiger and Nacho serving as their main substitutes. 

A big decision awaits Ancelotti

As the new season approaches, Ancelotti faces a dilemma similar to the one he had with goalkeepers Andriy Lunin and Thibaut Courtois. A similar situation is likely to unfold with Rudiger and Militao vying for the right centre-back position.

It must be remembered that Militao suffered an untimely injury last season, prompting Ancelotti to choose Rudiger over Nacho, who, although right-footed, is also adept on the left side. 

Carlo Ancelotti needs to assess his defensive duo for next season. (Photo by JAVIER SORIANO/AFP via Getty Images)

As the season progressed, Rudiger proved his worth, becoming a mainstay in the defense. His physical strength, bravery, and aerial prowess made him a reliable choice. 

His ability to play out from the back earned him the respect and confidence of his teammates, overshadowing Militao’s absence.

Rudiger’s importance has grown

Rudiger’s importance grew further when Alaba got injured in December. He became the cornerstone of the defence, often partnering with Nacho or Aurelien Tchouameni. Even when Rudiger played on the left side, the defensive structure remained solid.

When Militao returned in the last month and a half of the season, he struggled to regain his previous form. The long recovery period left emotional scars, and he was not the same player he had been before the injury. 

Consequently, Ancelotti opted to keep Rudiger in the lineup for crucial matches towards the end of the season.

With the new season on the horizon, Rudiger’s strong performances will present a significant challenge for Ancelotti. 

As Alaba also returns from injury, Ancelotti will have to decide who among Rudiger, Militao, and Alaba will be benched. 

Rudiger has proven his capability, often outperforming the Brazilian, whose post-injury form is still uncertain. 

Adding to the competition, Real Madrid might sign Leni Yoro and even Rafa Marin could return from his loan spell which could further complicate Ancelotti’s decisions.

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