Karim Benzema, who suffered a thigh injury days before France’s first game of the competition, which led to him flying home has reportedly rejected an invitation from Emmanuel Macron to attend the World Cup final.
The Ballon d’Or winner had recently returned to training with Real Madrid following his injury, and rumours soon spread hinting that he could make his way into the side for the final.
However, France boss Didier Deschamps ruled out such a prospect, although the striker could be in attendance at the match if he travels with Macron.
Benzema is still officially part of the France squad at the World Cup as he was not replaced.
Benzema took to Instagram late Friday and posted a picture of himself next to the words: “I’m not interested.” It wasn’t immediately obvious what the context was around his post.
The World Cup started for France with a deluge of injuries, with Karim Benzema, Christopher Nkunku and Presnel Kimpembe getting ruled out to join Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kante on the sidelines.
Meawhile, other injured players Paul Pogba, N’Golo Kante, Presnel Kimpembe and Christopher Nkunku will be there alongside Macron and his wife, Brigitte, as well as judo Olympic champion Teddy Riner, and former 1980s France international Alain Giresse.
It is finishing with France’s squad being further weakened by a virus that led to defender Dayot Upamecano and midfielder Adrien Rabiot missing the win over Morocco in the semifinals. Three more players — center backs Raphael Varane and Ibrahima Konaté and winger Kingsley Coman — were absent at practice on Friday but they were present on Saturday, when all 24 members of squad were in attendance for the team’s final training session before Sunday’s final.
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Should they win on Sunday, France will become the first back-to-back winners of the World Cup since Brazil back in 1962.