Karim Benzema’s public war with Didier Deschamps has continued after the France boss insisted it was the striker’s call to leave their 2022 FIFA World Cup squad early.
The Real Madrid star headed to Qatar as the reigning Ballon d’Or holder, but was a doubt for to prominently feature at the tournament due to a series of injuries to his muscles and hip.
Shortly prior to France’s World Cup opener, it was announced that Benzema would have to completely withdraw from the squad as he would not be able to return to fitness in time. He received a silver medal as he was not officially replaced in their 26-player squad, and announced his retirement from international football one day after Les Bleus’ defeat to Argentina in the final.
In a recent interview with Les Parisien, head coach Deschamps claimed that Benzema left the France setup of his own accord.
Deschamps said: “Karim was hurt because this World Cup meant a lot to him…He said to me, ‘It’s over’.
“Our doctor’s diagnosis matched the one we gave him in Madrid. At best, his return to training could not intervene before December 10. When I left him, I told him: ‘Karim, there is no urgency. You organise your return with the team manager’. When I woke up, I learned that he was gone. It was his decision, he won’t tell you otherwise, I understand and respect it.”
However, Benzema appears not to have agreed with this version of events.
In a post on his Instagram story, Benzema posted a picture of Deschamps accompanied by the caption: “The audacity of this [clown emoji]! Holy Didier. Goodnight.”
Benzema has long been at war with Deschamps. The striker was exiled from the France national team from 2016 to 2021 in part due to his blackmail case against former teammate Mathieu Valbuena, with Benzema claiming the head coach ‘folded due to pressure from France’s racist element’.
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