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2022 World Cup: Ballon d’Or Winner Karim Benzema, Paul Pogba Headline Top Absentees for France
- The cruel hands of injury has robbed France of parading arguably the most talented bunch of players to the forthcoming FIFA World Cup
- Karim Benzema, Christopher Nkunku are but a few of Les Bleus' creme de la creme of players ruled out of the football festival in Qatar
- Despite their absence France still have capable replacements who could lead the charge of their World Cup defence
Real Madrid's Karim Benzema headlines a truckload of superstar names ruled out of the FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
Defending champions France were billed to parade arguably the best squad at the Mundial but thanks to the players' anathema, injuries, Les Bleus will have to enter the competition without a cross section of their topmost talents.
Despite having capable replacements for the absentees, France will feel the pinch of the high-profile injured stars.
Sports Brief takes a look at the top five French stars set to miss out on the biggest football festival through injury:
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Operating in the engine room, the diminutive midfielder played a crucial role as France clinched their second World Cup in Russia, four years ago.
Since then, the Chelsea anchorman has been blighted with nagging injuries with his most recent injury occurring via a setback in the final stages of his recovery in October.
He is set to sit out for four months after the surgery.
The Juventus midfielder lifted the trophy with his country in 2018, scoring the third goal in their 4-2 final win over Croatia.
However, Pogba will miss the impending World Cup as he continues rehabilitation from a knee injury suffered in July.
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Presnel Kimpembe, a rock in France's rearguard as Les Bleus secured the Holy Grail in Russia, picked up an issue on his Achilles heel weeks before the tournament in Qatar kick started.
The Paris Saint-Germain defender would have to watch his France teammates defend the title without him.
Having made Didier Deschamps' 26-man squad for Qatar 2022, Nkunku was expected to add firepower to an already potent France attack.
However, his aspirations soon turn into agony when he suffered a knee sprain in training following a 50-50 challenge with Eduardo Camavinga, Football London reports.
Last and not least is Real Madrid talisman and the reigning Ballon d'Or holder Karim Benzema.
Since annexing the coveted individual diadem, the 34-year-old forward has been battling with thigh problems.
And unfortunately, for him both France and the world at large will not catch a glimpse of the best pound-for-pound striker in the last 18 months at the World Cup.
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What next for France?
The defending champions will begin their title defence against Australia on Tuesday, November 22.
Benzema ruled out of World Cup
France star Karim Benzema has lost his race to be fit for the 2022 World Cup and has withdrawn from their squad, the country's football federation announced on Saturday.
The Real Madrid forward was voted the best player this year in the Ballon d'Or last month and the 34-year-old will be sorely missed by the World champions.
The emblematic Benzema has been struggling with a thigh problem since October and has played less than half an hour of football in his club's last six games.