Benzema’s France call-up hinges on Madrid derby says Ancelotti
Real Madrid’s Italian coach Carlo Ancelotti reacts as he speaks during a press conference at Celtic Park in Glasgow on September 5, 2022, on the eve of their UEFA Champions League Group F football match against Celtic. (Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN / AFP)
Carlo Ancelotti, manager of Real Madrid, has stated that if injured Karim Benzema is unable to play in next week’s La Liga derby against Atletico Madrid, the star striker will be ruled out of France’s Nations League World Cup warm-up games.
Benzema, the hot favorite to win the Ballon d’Or next month, suffered a right thigh injury in Tuesday’s 3-0 Champions League win over Celtic.
And on Saturday, Ancelotti said, “Karim? We’ll see if he makes it to the derby. What is certain is that if he does not participate in the derby, he will not be joining his national team.”
World Cup champions France continues to prepare for their 2018 title defense against Austria on September 22 and Denmark three days later.
“These are the kinds of things that can happen,” Ancelotti said of the French forward.
“There is a minor issue, but he had a physical problem in December last year as well, and we were able to deal with it.”
“It’ll be the same thing this year.”
The 34-year-old striker hobbled off after half an hour at Parkhead, with Real going on to win convincingly as they began their title defense in style.
“Without him, the team played really well against Celtic, especially in attack,” Ancelotti observed, ahead of Sunday’s La Liga clash with Real Mallorca.
Eden Hazard will as he did in Glasgow step into Benzema’s role on Sunday.
While praising the Belgian for his performance in Scotland Ancelotti noted: “Benzema doesn’t have a natural replacement.
“He’s the best centre forward in the world, and there’s no substitute for him anywhere on the market.”
Benzema’s fitness to face Atletico will be determined in part by tests, but primarily by his astute coach.
“We have a lot of information, both physical and technical.” I consider them all, but only to confirm what my own eyes are telling me.
“If my eyes tell me a player is doing well on the field but the data says he’s tired, he’ll stay out there.”
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