There have been emanating reports of the return of 2022 Ballon d’Or winner Karim Benzema to the France squad in the ongoing FIFA World Cup.
Meanwhile, National Daily can confirm that Les Bleus boss Didier Deschamps has played down the speculation that the forward could return to the squad and says he is unaware of the growing speculation surrounding the striker.
National Daily gathered that the 34-year-old had been struggling with injury going into the tournament and another setback forced him to pull out altogether, though Deschamps did not call up a replacement even though he was able to.
The striker was expected to be sidelined for around four weeks, but reports in Spain on Monday evening claimed he had recovered quicker than expected and was set to return to training with Real Madrid.
Because Les Bleus never replaced him, Benzema is understood to still be on the list of players registered for the tournament since he was not replaced by Deschamps and has therefore been linked with a sensational return to Qatar if he can prove his fitness.
But National Daily understands that France boss has now rubbished suggestions that Benzema is set for a sensational return and insists he is happy with the players and squad currently at his disposal.
Asked in a roundabout way about the speculation surrounding Benzema, Deschamps said: ‘Wow. Well, I’m not sure [what to say], that’s really not something that I’m thinking about.
‘You seem to know a lot about the situation but I haven’t really been following who has been saying what.
‘I talked to Karim after he left and you know the situation, and we heard how long it was going to take for him to recover.
‘So I don’t really know what you’re trying to imply. I have 24 players in my squad and I’m happy with the squad I have.
‘Some players are missing, [Presnel] Kimpembe and [Paul] Pogba are missing too, and of course I talk with them.
‘But it’s up to you if you want to speculate and imagine scenarios. That’s not what I’m focusing on at the moment.’
Deschamps was accompanied on pre-match press conference duties before facing Tunisia by Aurelien Tchouameni rather than skipper Hugo Lloris, though he laughed off suggestions that the media line-up offered any clues about his team selection.
‘No, he [Tchouameni] won’t be captain tomorrow,’ said the France boss.
‘You can try and guess what you like, but we don’t have to come with the captain to these press conferences every time because it’s quite tiring for a player to come every time. So I think it’s good to change things up a little bit from time to time.
‘Hugo makes himself available for the game and of course I’m thinking about those issues and a number of other issues for the match.’