Karim Benzema, the 2022 Ballon d’Or winner, has pulled out of the World Cup with France after suffering an injury in Saturday’s training.
The Real Madrid forward tore a muscle in his left thigh and will now miss the World Cup, the French football federation confirmed.
The 34-year-old will be on the sideline for three weeks as he looks to recover from the injury.
The FFF said: “Karim Benzema was forced to cut short the collective training session after feeling pain in the quadriceps of his left thigh.
“He went for an MRI at a hospital in Doha, which unfortunately confirmed a femoral rectus injury, which will require a three-week recovery period.
“After having exchanged with Dr. Franck Le Gall then the Real Madrid striker, Didier Deschamps recorded Karim Benzema’s package for the World Cup.”
“I am extremely sad for Karim who made this World Cup a major goal,” the France national coach Didier Deschamps said in a statement.
“Despite this new blow for the French team, I have full confidence in my group.
“We will do everything to meet the huge challenge that awaits us.”
Benzema posted on Instagram: “In my life I have never 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 make a good World Cup.
“Thank you for all your messages of support.”
This year’s World Cup in Qatar marks the first time since 1978 that a reigning Ballon d’Or winner won’t be appearing at the World Cup finals.
France, already without the likes of Paul Pogba, N’Golo Kante, Presnel Kimpembe, Mike Maignan, and Christopher Nkunku due to injury, will now look to defend the World Cup title they won in 2018 without their star striker.
France will now rely on the services of forwards Kylian Mbappe, Olivier Giroud, Antoine Griezmann, Ousmane Dembele, and Marcus Thuram as their striking options.
France’s first game of the World Cup is against Australia on Tuesday, followed by Denmark on November 26, with their final game of the group stage coming against Tunisia on November 30.