Real Madrid News
Karim Benzema could return to the World Cup if he recovers in time – report
The French national team has been cruising in the 2022 World Cup, crushing all ‘WC curses’. They have already qualified for the round of 16, registering two wins in two games against Australia and Denmark.
All this while having a bunch of their key players injured and out of contention. This includes the likes of Christopher Nkunku, Presnel Kimpembe, N’Golo Kante, Paul Pogba, and most importantly Karim Benzema.
Benzema picked up an injury one day before the tournament kicked off, and had to return to Madrid for his recovery. Interestingly enough, Didier Deschamps refused to call in a replacement for the veteran striker.
And according to RMC Sport, Benzema could still return to the World Cup, theoretically, if he makes a timely recovery. The Frenchman has been training well, and Spanish sources suggest that he is in line to return to Real Madrid training ahead of schedule.
Since Deschamps did not call up a replacement for Benzema, he is still a part of the French national squad, and has been named on the team sheet for the group stages.
The final decision to recall him, though, rests on Deschamps and the French Football Federation.
In Benzema’s absence, France have lined up in a 4-2-3-1, with Kylian Mbappe on the left-wing, Ousmane Dembele on the right, and Antoine Griezmann pulling the strings as the no. 10.
Olivier Giroud takes his place as the striker, and already has two goals to his name in two games. That has put him level with the legendary Thierry Henry as the all-time top-scorer for France.
Benzema does have a fairly decent track record in the World Cup, though. He scored three goals in the 2014 World Cup across five games, and also set up two for his teammates.
Real Madrid News
Key Real Madrid star will be fit for Valladolid clash despite national team withdrawal
Real Madrid have been greeted with some positive news on the injury front as goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois is expected to be fit and ready for the upcoming La Liga clash against Real Valladolid.
The 30-year-old custodian had flown away for national team duty with Belgium and played the full game against Sweden last week. However, the Real Madrid ace was sent back to the club over the weekend due to a minor adductor strain.
This raised concerns over the former Chelsea star’s condition, especially with a busy period lying ahead for the Merengues.
However, Mario Cortegana of The Athletic has eased any nerves surrounding his situation, reporting that Courtois was subjected to tests upon returning to Spain and there is no reason for worry.
The report states that Real Madrid expect their No. 1 to be fit and available for their next game which will be against Real Valladolid in La Liga on April 2, Sunday.
It is further stated that the knock Courtois sustained was not a new one and that the 30-year-old had felt discomfort in the same area during Los Blancos’ UEFA Champions League Round of 16 second-leg tie against Liverpool at the Santiago Bernabeu earlier this month.
Courtois has featured 32 times across all competitions this term, having missed a few matches due to fitness issues. He has managed just ten clean sheets and will be hoping to add to that against Valladolid, now that is reportedly fit to feature at the weekend.
In another boost, reports earlier today indicated that Toni Kroos does not have any injury after concerns were raised due to the midfielder doing individual training sessions over the past week.