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'Stupid' Benzema World Cup rumours shut down by Ancelotti as Real Madrid boss explains striker's absence

15:14 GMT 09/11/2022
Karim Benzema Real Madrid 2022
Carlo Ancelotti has rubbished claims that Karim Benzema is protecting himself for the World Cup as he continues to be out of action for Real Madrid.
  • Ancelotti explains Benzema absences
  • Unable to shake injury discomfort
  • Not been holding back for World Cup

WHAT HAPPENED? Following a remarkable 2021/22 campaign where Benzema fired Real to a La Liga and Champions League double to earn a maiden Ballon d'Or, the Frenchman has endured an injury-hit start to the club's latest season. Benzema has missed all of Real's last three games, leading to question marks over whether he is being kept back ahead of France's World Cup campaign.

WHAT HE SAID: Ancelotti has come out to clarify the reason behind Benzema's recent absence, telling a press conference: "He's tried [to play], but he hasn't been able to come back with this discomfort. It isn't much. He's tried to be available and he hasn't been able to."

After remarking the concept that Benzema was protecting himself as ''stupid'', the Madrid boss added: "Karim is the first to be disappointed. He's going into playing a World Cup without the minutes he needs to be in good condition. He's had a problem, it isn't serious, he's been working individually but his feeling to play a game hasn't been good. Karim himself is the most disappointed, because he's going to play a World Cup, as Ballon d'Or winner, without many minutes in his legs."

THE BIGGER PICTURE: With the World Cup taking place mid-season and Benzema being no spring chicken at 34, there have been suspicions from some that he has been saving himself for the tournament in Qatar. He's made just seven La Liga starts this season and started only half of Real's Champions League group-stage games.


WHAT NEXT FOR BENZEMA? Los Blancos play once more in La Liga before pausing for the World Cup, with Cadiz set to arrive at Santiago Bernabeu on Thursday, but it remains to be seen whether Benzema will feature with the tournament now around the corner.