‘Furious’ Benzema appears to rule out France World Cup final return

France and Kylian Mbappé train ahead of the World Cup final

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Karim Benzema appears to have poured cold water on making a sensational return to France’s World Cup squad in time for Sunday’s final against Argentina. Speculation was rife that the Ballon d’Or winner could have been included on Didier Deschamps’ squad list for the showpiece event, but the Real Madrid star has all but ended any hopes of him flying back out to Qatar.

The 34-year-old was ruled out of the tournament with a thigh injury on the eve of the tournament opener in November, which means he is unlikely to add to his World Cup appearances in the future given his age.

However, a loophole reportedly gave Benzema the chance to return to their camp in the Middle East as he was never replaced by Deschamps.

But according to Spanish news outlet Libertad Digital, Benzema has been left ‘furious’ with the way Deschamps dealt with his departure. The France head coach sent Benzema home after the injury and his subsequent remarks in press conferences have left the striker feeling alienated, ruling out the possibility of him returning to the camp.

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But Benzema, responding to reports from fans pleading for him to join up with the injury-hit France squad, issued a blunt message to those hoping he would be back.

Posting an image on his Instagram page, which has over 63 million followers, Benzema wrote: “Not interested” in his native French, accompanying a self-portrait of the player’s unbothered facial expression.

Instead, the striker has been spotted rejoining training with his club Real Madrid at their Valdebebas training base after recovering from the injury. Their La Liga campaign restarts on December 30 against Real Valladolid, and it seems Benzema is fully focused on proving his fitness to his club boss Carlo Ancelotti.

There will be disappointment from France fans eager to see the veteran forward in action, having missed a large chunk of his international career due to off-the-field matters.

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His exile from the squad is unlikely to affect France too much, though. Deschamps’ side have been in superb form, largely thanks to the in-form duo of Kylian Mbappe and Olivier Giroud, who broke Thierry Henry’s all-time scoring record during the tournament.

Antoine Griezmann has also shone in a deeper midfield role, having also excelled in their 2018 run to being crowned world champions, while lower-profile players such as Theo Hernandez and Adrien Rabiot have quietly impressed.

They have beaten Poland, England and Morocco on their way to reaching their second successive final, with only Lionel Messi and Argentina standing in their way of becoming the first nation since Brazil in 1962 to retain the Jules Rimet trophy on Sunday.

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