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Benzema injured on return to full training for France Qatar World Cup 2022 News

Star forward will not take part in France’s opening match against Australia, according to French media report.

France forward Karim Benzema is to undergo medical tests after leaving training injured on Saturday ahead of the defending champions’ World Cup opener against Australia.

The Real Madrid striker has been struggling with a thigh problem since October and has played less than half an hour of football in his club’s last six games.

The 34-year-old’s return to full training was curtailed by the injury with tests due later Saturday to determine its nature and seriousness, a source close to Les Bleus told the AFP news agency.

L’Equipe reported that Benzema, this year’s winner of the Ballon d’Or“will not participate in at least the first match” of France’s campaign with a risk of not playing in any games.

The sports newspaper said that Benzema “felt a sharp muscle pain” in his left thigh in training.

France’s forward Karim Benzema (C) controls the ball during a training session [Franck Fife/AFP]

This was the first time Benzema had taken part in full training since Didier Deschamps’s squad met up at their French headquarters of Clairefontaine last Monday.

Under FIFA rules, Deschamps can call up a replacement for an injured player until Monday, on the eve of their first game against Australia.

Doubts over Benzema’s fitness are a major headache for Deschamps, already deprived of the services of midfielders Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kante, number two goalkeeper Mike Maignan, defender Presnel Kimpembe and forward Christopher Nkunku.

Benzema, who last month won the Ballon d’Or, has not played an entire match since October 19.

He and Raphael Varane trained apart from the rest of the squad on Thursday during a session open to the media at the home stadium of Qatari champions, Al Sadd.

Manchester United centre-back Varane has not played a game since coming off in tears against Chelsea on October 22.

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