‘I don’t have anything to say to them’: Carlo Ancelotti rubbishes ‘nonsense’ talk that star striker Karim Benzema is saving himself for the World Cup after an injury-stricken start to the season for the 2022 Ballon d’Or winner
The Italian manager claimed that he was not bothered by Benzema’s repeated absence from this side this season, having only started 11 of a possible 20 games for Real Madrid.
Carlo Ancelotti said talk that Karim Benzema is saving himself for the World Cup ‘nonsense’
‘Nothing has bothered me, he hasn’t been able to help the team but he has tried,’ said the Italian in a press conference ahead of his side’s final game before the mid-season World Cup break.
‘He hasn’t been able to come back with this discomfort, which is a small thing.
‘I don’t have anything to say to (talk of Benzema saving himself for the World Cup).
‘The first one who is hurt is Karim, who arrives at the World Cup without having the minutes he needed to be in the best condition. I don’t believe it, it’s nonsense. It’s not a serious problem.’
Benzema has only appeared 11 times for Real Madrid this season, but has still bagged six goals
‘No, the latest discomfort is not important and the truth is that they are small things.’
Despite being given the all-clear by the Spanish titans’ medical staff, Benzema has remained absent from the team as he claims not to feel 100 per cent fit.
As a result the Frenchman has only played 26 minutes of football in the last five games for his club, coming off the bench against Celtic in the Champions League.
And as his manager has said, the 34-year-old is left at just as much of a disadvantage as his club if he was saving himself for the World Cup, given that he would arrive with a lack of match fitness and therefore be well off the pace.
He is hoping to help France defend their World Cup title after missing out on the squad in 2018
Several of the games biggest stars have been struck down by last-minute injuries ahead of the World Cup, which is being held in the middle of the season as the summer temperatures of Qatar are deemed to high to play football in.
England’s Reece James has been left out of the England squad alongside his Chelsea team-mate Ben Chilwell, who picked up a hamstring injury against Dinamo Zagreb earlier in November.
Also ruled out of the tournament are French World Cup winner Paul Pogba, Portugal forward Diogo Jota and Brazilian playmaker Philippe Coutinho, amongst others.
France midfielder Paul Pogba will also miss out after sustaining a serious a knee injury
Ben Chilwell sustained a ‘significant’ hamstring injury during Chelsea’s 2-1 Champions League win over Dinamo Zagreb on Wednesday (above)
Villa’s Philippe Coutinho has been ruled out for up to 10 weeks and will miss the World Cup