Karim Benzema is reportedly a major doubt for France’s World Cup opener against Australia.
The reigning world champions will begin their Group D campaign on November 22 before also taking on Denmark and Tunisia on November 26 and November 30 respectively.
Benzema’s fitness has been the subject of concern in recent weeks, with the 34-year-old forced to miss a number of matches for Real Madrid due to a muscular problem.
According to L’Equipe, the experienced striker is currently suffering with pain in his knee and hamstring, which has made him a major doubt for France’s first match of the competition.
The report claimed that no medical examination has been able to diagnose the exact issue, but he has been put on a tailor-made training programme in a bid to cure the problems.
Olivier Giroud is allegedly on standby should Benzema be unable to prove his fitness, with France boss Didier Deschamps not prepared to take any chances at this stage of the tournament.
Benzema has found it difficult to show his best form for Real Madrid during the 2022-23 campaign, only managing six goals and one assist in 12 appearances in all competitions.
The striker failed to score in the group stage of the Champions League, while he missed Real Madrid’s last four league matches before the break due to his muscular problems.
Benzema has scored 37 goals in 97 appearances for France, and he will be hoping to pass a century in terms of outings for the national team during the competition in Qatar.
“He knows that the World Cup is a very important moment for him. He will do everything, like the whole group, to be ready on November 22,” Deschamps told TF1 earlier this month.
“There was a period where Benzema played too much and is now paying the price with small injuries. But he knows the World Cup is important.
“It’s not that Benzema did not want to play for Real Madrid, he was just not ready. But I’m sure he will be ready for the World Cup.”
Antoine Griezmann, Kylian Mbappe, Ousmane Dembele, Kingsley Coman, Marcus Thuram and Randal Kolo Muani are also attacking options for France at the upcoming World Cup.