Ancelotti reflects on the absence of Karim Benzema before the World Cup
While Karim Benzema missed Real Madrid’s last matches, Carlo Ancelotti denied it, it’s a precaution for France.
Carlo Ancelotti has hit back at suggestions Karim Benzema is playing less for Real Madrid as a precaution ahead of the Qatar 2022 World Cup with France.
The experienced striker hasn’t played since the 3-0 La Liga win over Elche almost a fortnight ago, instead turning into a spectator on the fringes of Los Blancos with a hamstring problem.
With the World Cup due to start later this month, Benzema – who was left out of Didier Deschamps’ Russia 2018 title-winning squad – is hoping to make it happen.
Ahead of Madrid’s Champions League clash with Celtic on Wednesday, Ancelotti ended talks over the Ballon d’Or winner’s absence to facilitate a ticket to Qatar.
“Benzema didn’t play because he picked up a few injuries,” said the Italian. “He is 34 years old, takes care of himself and is in good shape.
“He just wasn’t available. I’m sure it has nothing to do with the World Cup because a player has to be fit and fit before a tournament like that.
Ancelotti has hinted that Benzema could return midweek as Madrid look to consolidate their top spot in Group F against visitors Scotland at the Santiago Bernabeu.
“He’s training now,” he added. “I have to decide if he starts or if he starts in the game. It depends on how he feels. »
Benzema will be among the names Deschamps will almost certainly want to include when he picks his team for the title defense next week.
France will no longer be without World Cup winner Paul Pogba after it was confirmed that the Juventus playmaker is behind on his recovery schedule.