Wednesday, 1 February, 2023

Deschamps refuses to discuss Benzema

France coach Didier Deschamps refused to discuss Karim Benzema after the injured Ballon d'Or winner was spotted arriving on holiday on the Indian Ocean island of Reunion following his withdrawal from the World Cup.

The Real Madrid striker pulled out of the France squad with an injured left thigh on the eve of the tournament and departed their team hotel in Qatar soon afterwards.

He arrived on Reunion, a French overseas department, early on Tuesday morning following rumours in Spain that he might return to training with his club. Sources close to Benzema said the player would stay on the island for a week.

Asked about Benzema, who is still officially part of the France squad at the World Cup having not been replaced, Deschamps dismissed the question.

"You are fishing for things there, but these things are not on my mind. I don't know who is saying what, where or how," the France coach said at a press conference in Doha ahead of Wednesday's final group game against Tunisia.

"I spoke to Karim after his departure, and you know what his situation is and how long he will be out for. "I am focusing on the 24 players who are here. I'll let you talk about that and debate it if you want, but I am not going to talk about things that don't affect what we are doing here from day to day."