KARIM Benzema’s World Cup hopes were cut short after he picked up an injury during his first full training session on Saturday, France Football Federation confirmed.
In a statement, they noted that the 34-year-old Ballon d’Or winner “had to stop training after experiencing discomfort in the quadriceps of his left leg.” Benzema’s Magnetic resonance imaging, MRI scan at a hospital in Doha confirmed an injury to his rectus femoris, with a recovery window of about three weeks.
Benzema released a statement on Twitter: “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.”
The Frenchman joins a host of other renowned players missing the world cup through injury, including Senegal’s Sadio Mané. The two-time African Footballer of the Year picked up a knock during his final club game of the season but hoped to be cleared for the tournament. However, it later emerged that he would need surgery on the leg injury.
Some other prominent players missing out on the tournament include Jojo Wollacott, Richard Ofori, Baba Iddrisu, Amine Harit, Paul Pogba, N’golo Kante, Mike Maignan, Mike Oyarzabal, Timo Werner, Reece James, Diogo Jota, and Pedro Neto.
FIFPRO Issued Injury Concerns a Few Weeks ago
Earlier this month, Fédération Internationale des Associations de Footballeurs Professionnels, FIFPRO, the global trade union for professional footballers, flagged potential injury concerns because of the more intense workload and shorter recovery periods leading up to the tournament.
“I think the risk [of injury] is higher as is the risk of fatigue over the next four weeks and that players might not be available when the biggest matches are played,” said Jonas Baer-Hoffmann, FIFPRO’s general secretary.
He added, “I think the probability of that is certainly higher [than in other World Cups]. We might still see an incredible World Cup because players are leaving it all out there and we might see some countries playing miraculous football, but the bigger picture increases the probability of injury and increases the probability of fatigue-limiting performance. That is what the science says.”
Furthermore, the group released a detailed report of each team in the tournament and flagged players at critical levels, including the now-injured Sadio Mané.
Since the start of last season, the Senegalese accumulated a staggering 7255 minutes across 93 games (third highest among all players considered by FIFPRO. The other players earmarked include Brazil’s Vinicius Junior, Mexico’s Guillermo Ochoa, England’s Harry Kane, France’s Kylian Mbappe, and South Korea’s Heung-Min Son.
The tournament begins today with hosts, Qatar, playing Ecuador.
Joel currently monitors and writes stories affecting the local political and sports atmosphere. In his spare time, he strives to accentuate data privacy legislation on the continent.
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