Karim Benzema will not play at the 2022 World Cup – the words that every France and Real Madrid fan feared. But also a rare loss for the World Cup, which will see the tournament without the reigning Ballon d’Or since 1978.
That’s according to Alexis Martin-Tamayo Blazquez, who reports that this is the first time since Allan Simonsen in 1978 and just the third time in history. Another former Real Madrid legend Alfredo di Stefano missed out in 1958 when Spain did not qualify.
El vigente Balón de Oro fuera de la Copa del Mundo:
1958 Di Stéfano (España no se clasifica)
1978 Alan Simonsen (Dinamarca no se clasifica)
2022 KARIM BENZEMA (por lesión)
— MisterChip (Alexis) (@2010MisterChip) November 19, 2022
According to Andres Onrubia Ramos, the injury to his quadriceps is expected to keep Benzema out for around three weeks. That would rule Benzema out of at the very least, the group stages and the Round of 16. It is worth remembering that Benzema has played just 30 minutes of football since the 19th of October.
Tweeting after the news was made public, Benzema expressed his thanks for the messages of support.
“Never in my life have I 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 to have a good World Cup. Thank you for all your messages of support 🙌🏼❤️”
De ma vie je n’ai jamais abandonné mais ce soir il faut que je pense à l’équipe comme je l’ai toujours fait alors la raison me dit de laisser ma place à quelqu’un qui pourra aider notre groupe à faire une belle Coupe du Monde. Merci pour tous vos messages de soutien 🙌🏼❤️ pic.twitter.com/SBalX0juAH
— Karim Benzema (@Benzema) November 19, 2022
For Benzema the blow is particularly bitter. At the age of 35, this may be his last major international tournament and in what was the best moment in his career, certainly his final World Cup. Having missed the 2018 edition due to his help to blackmail teammate Mathieu Valbuena with a sex tape, Benzema had been building towards this tournament as perhaps as his final frontier.