Speaking ahead of Real Madrid’s return to league action tomorrow night, as they host Real Valladolid, manager Carlo Ancelotti was notably asked about the fitness of Karim Benzema, in the wake of controversy over departure from the French national team on the eve of their World Cup opener.
The Ballon d’Or winner had been an injury doubt for the tournament, having scarcely appeared in the weeks beforehand, but another thigh injury in his first full training session with Les Bleus put an end to his chances of starting against Australia.
Benzema was then sent home, but doubts continued to rumble over whether he would be able to return later on in the tournament. With the striker announcing his international retirement shortly after the final, it appears that the subject was a point of contention between the various medical teams involved as well as Benzema’s own team. His long-time advisor Karim Djaziri has notably claimed that the former Lyon man would have been fit from the knockout stages onwards. For Ancelotti, Benzema is raring to go:
“He came back on December 10 and seemed quite well to me. He started to work with the team, he played half an hour and 45 minutes in friendlies and feels good, and is very motivated. He’s going to show all his quality in this part of the season.”
“[On Deschamps sending Benzema home] I won’t get involved in France’s decision. They evaluated Karim at that moment and thought that he wouldn’t be able to play in the whole World Cup. It was a very motivated player who came back here. He knows that his first half of the season wasn’t good and he wants to show things in the second.”
GFFN | Raphaël Jucobin