The French coach spoke to Le Parisien about the controversial departure of Benzema in the days before the World Cup in Qatar. Asked if he should have deferred his decision to exclude the player, he noted: “Saying that is an insult. There is only one truth and Karim knows it well. He joined on November 14 after a period of semi-inactivity at the club (his last game with Real Madrid was on November 2 against Celtic, in which he played 26 minutes). He followed an individualized program and his return to collective training was postponed. He did not have, like Raphaël Varane, a 100% chance of starting the first match against Australia. When Karim got injured, our doctor took him to the Aspetar clinic for an MRI. Karim Benzema sent the results to a doctor in Madrid, who also gave him his opinion. When he returned to the hotel, it was already past midnight. I met with Karim in his room and with our doctor, who had come to give me the MRI report”.
And he added: “I lost an important player and he was annoyed. Our doctor’s diagnosis coincided with that of Madrid. ‘He is dead’, he told me. In the best of cases, his return to training could not come before December 10. In a statement on his social network, he expressed his disappointment at having to give up, but he justified this choice based on his concern for thinking about the team. We were together for about twenty minutes. When he leaves him, I tell him: ‘Karim, there is no rush.’ You organize your return with the team manager. When I wake up, I realize that he is gone. It is his decision, I understand and respect him ”.
When Le Parisien tells Deschamps that Benzema played again on December 15, he replies: “He played thirty minutes of a training match. Do you really think it’s comparable to the intensity of a World Cup semi-final? Despite his talent and status, which no one has ever challenged, can you imagine him coming back at the last moment? Karim himself told me that he would not have been ready.
Deschamps, however, denies that there was discomfort in the group with the Real Madrid player: “No player was happy with his departure, as was heard or could be read. Karim knows it too. I don’t know who spreads those rumors. It’s not even controversy anymore, it’s malice. If the smiles appeared it was not because Karim had left us, but because the team was winning”.
Deschamps said he called Benzema back after his renewal with France’s coach. “We had a long talk and I asked him about his willingness to come back. He confirmed to me his decision to end his international career. Don’t ask me about his arguments. It will be up to him to communicate them or not ”.