France and the curse of being Karim Benzema | Football News

DOHA: Imagine being Karim Benzema. There are probably always a handful of versions of the man – egos, alter-egos and the like – but for the sake of context, we’ll only mention two today. So which Benzema would you ideally like to be? Currently, officially the best player in the world, finally a Ballon d’Or winnerafter living a life as a footballer that once seemed destined to wither away unheralded in the tall, menacing shadows of teammates and other illustrious peers?
Or, the improbable eldest of the Blues, returned from exile as a reformed prodigal, chastened, wiser, master of the elements that surround him and assuming the responsibilities that await him as if he had never been banished? It doesn’t end there, and therein lies the conundrum. If you were Benzema, what would you choose instead – the long-awaited and well-deserved, debate-ending personal glory, or that slightly sweeter thrill of a chance to end it all with a World Cup triumph? In Benzema’s case, you can’t have both. And this is the tragedy of man. For the first time since 1978, a Ballon D’or winner will not appear at the World Cup. Great Dane Allan Simonsen may not have torn his left thigh muscle in training like Benzema did on Saturday, to be ruled out as Denmark only qualified for the first time in 1986.
Pivotal to Deschamps’ title defense in Qatar here, Benzema was supposed to form the top of a fearsome attacking trio that included the prodigious (and proven!) Kylian Mbappe and the cunning little Antoine Griezmann close behind. It was the troika of dreams, the one that had probably made Deschamps wake up at night and pinch himself to see if she really existed and wasn’t a dream. An idea that was not just a notion as also expressed by the defender Lucas Hernándeztwo days ago: “Now all the teams want to win against France. All the teams want to beat us.”
Today, two days before their opener against Australia, after their main man was forced out, Deschamps is having nightmares back in the day. What changes this time around is that Benzema becomes the fifth Deschamps player to be ruled out here through injury, which lends more weight to the argument against holding World Cups just in between and close by. of the busy season for European clubs, simply due to the workload of the players.
At 34, this was the best opportunity for Bezmena to cement his place in footballing greatness. It seems unlikely he’ll be around for another final salvo in four years’ time – especially with the talent that French football regularly produces – and even with Zinedine Zidane, his footballing adoptive father, likely set to replace Didier Deschamps as new manager. coach of France, as most reports suggest.
Such has been France’s depth over the past two years and bolstered by its return to the fold last year after a six-year exile following a blackmail scandal with a shockingly stupid sex tape, this n It wasn’t that the absence of Benzema would derail the project of world champions. After all, Deschamps achieved a beautiful and convincing triumph without France’s top striker in his plans in Russia four years ago. Ironically, that win almost spelled the end of Benzema’s international career as it became increasingly clear that he was not needed and the team had moved one. Until it was a stellar two-season spell at Real Madrid, and on gentle pressure from Zidane, Deschamps’ longtime France and Juventus team-mate, to reconsider his ban which the manager relented. “There was a difficult time when I wasn’t in the France team but I never gave up,” Benzema said of his Ballon d’Or victory.
Perhaps the only reason Deschamps caved was the idea of ​​instilling harmony in a squad and dressing room historically beset by differences and cliques. A notable point of contention was the indifference between rising star Mbappe and old horse, Olivier Grioud. It was a gamble, but one that seasoned Deschamps was willing to play.
There has always been the specter of dressing room disruption and the sneaky threat with Benzema. Perhaps it was the forbidding nature of Real Madrid’s dressing room, filled with superstars from Casillas, Ramos to a certain Cristiano Ronaldo, perhaps forced him to soften it up a lot, the other was clearly the presence and the Zidane’s influence, first as an assistant to Carlo Ancelotti and later as a coach himself. The positive influence was such that Benzema became more of a Real Madrid talisman than a Les Bleus star. Maybe it even showed somewhere in the nature of the injury. As leader and main striker, Benzema was the most overworked player and Ancelotti’s reluctance to rotate him cost France.
Benzema’s reintegration into the Blues’ line-up may have seemed to upset the balance almost immediately, but what seemed worse was that immediately upon his return Benzema sought to take Mbappe under his wing, even acting in as a Real Madrid go-between telling the young star to join him in Spain. It set up the chain of events, the back and forth that has dominated Mbappe’s pro season for two years now, but that somewhat attritional vibe worked as France made the Euro semi-finals and won the Nations League in tremendous fashion.
Now the focus is once again on his attacking formation, against Australia on Tuesday. How does Deschamps juggle, is Deschamps content with Giroud and Mbappe side by side, or is the recently named Marcus Thuram, son of the great Lilian, a better option? “A team like France with Mbappe is comfortable on the counter-attack but you also have to be good in defence. In the last World Cup they didn’t have the highest level of possession but in transition they were the most dangerous because they had players who were comfortable with this style,” Arsene Wenger remarked on Saturday, before the announcement of Benzema’s injury.
In yet another aspect, this latest setback against France and his own attacking unit, it offers the biggest opportunity for Mbappe to establish himself as an all-time great forever. Does he become the leader on top of the star scorer his agents and marketing reps sell him, or does star-studded France succumb to the curse of the reigning champions and make an embarrassing, early exit in Qatar?


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