Karim Benzema has responded to Didier Deschamps, suggesting that the France manager is not being honest about the Real Madrid striker’s departure from his World Cup squad.
Deschamps gave an interview to the newspaper Le Parisien — posted on Friday — describing the circumstances surrounding Benzema’s absence from the squad after he suffered a thigh injury in pre-tournament training in Qatar.
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Benzema’s agent has previously criticized Deschamps’ decision to send the player home, and sources told ESPN that Benzema felt he could have stayed with the team to participate later in the tournament, when he returned to fitness.
“There is only one truth, and Karim knows it well,” Deschamps told Le Parisien.
“Karim is upset that this World Cup meant a lot to him. (After scan results confirmed his injury) he told me he was ‘dead’. At best, his return to training could not have been been before December 10.
“When I left him, I told him: ‘Karim, there is no rush. Arrange your return with the team manager.’ When I woke up, I realized that he was gone. It was his decision.”
Benzema responded on social media later on Friday, he shared the Deschamps quotes on an Instagram story, writing “what a nerve” followed by a clown emoji, followed by another story in which he wrote “Dear Didier, good night” accompanied by a video clip of a man repeatedly saying the word “liar”.
The Ballon d’Or winner has struggled with a series of injuries this season. He made just one substitute appearance for Real Madrid in the month before the World Cup, in an ultimately unsuccessful attempt to return to fitness in time for the tournament.
In all, he has started 15 of Madrid’s 25 LaLiga games this season, scoring 11 goals, and missed Saturday’s match with Espanyol with an ankle problem.
Benzema has not played for France for six years, excluded by Deschamps for his alleged involvement in blackmailing a former teammate mathieu valbuenabefore returning in 2021.
He retired from international football in December after France’s World Cup final loss to Argentina, saying: “I’ve made the efforts and the mistakes that were necessary to be where I am today and I’m proud of it! I’ve written my story and ours comes to an end”.