French striker Karim Benzema was injured again just before the World Cup in Qatar. According to L’Équipe, the Ballon d’Or winner is almost certainly absent on Tuesday in the first pool game against Australia. The French newspaper reports that Benzema might even miss the entire World Cup.

Real Madrid’s top scorer has been struggling with physical issues for several weeks. Benzema joined the French closed group training in Doha on Saturday. According to various media, however, the 34-year-old striker was injured again. His participation in the World Cup is “very uncertain”, according to L’Équipe.

France national coach Didier Deschamps has seen many core players drop out due to injuries in the run-up to the World Cup. Paul Pogba, N’Golo Kanté, Presnel Kimpembe and Christopher Nkunku, among others, fell away from the defending champion.

Messi and Ronaldo fit in over time

Two other big stars, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, look fit in time for the World Cup. Although the 35-year-old Argentine trained separately from the group on Saturday with a physio, everything indicates that Messi can face Saudi Arabia on Tuesday. Ronaldo was present during Portugal’s first collective training session in Qatar. The 37-year-old Manchester United striker skipped the friendly match against Nigeria (4-0) in Lisbon on Thursday due to stomach problems.

Ronaldo is entering his fifth and probably last World Cup. Portugal start the tournament against Ghana on Thursday. Ronaldo was discredited this week because of an interview in which he strongly criticized his club Manchester United and his manager Erik ten Hag.

PA