The day after Daniel Riolo’s revelations in After Foot behind the scenes of Karim Benzema’s package during the World Cup, the French team’s entourage wanted to shed another light on RMC.
It was one of the last great goals of his career. After winning the Ballon d’Or, Karim Benzema aspired to win the World Cup in Qatar. A dream that flew away due to a thigh injury, even before entering the Blues race. It was without him that they reached the final with the frustrating penalty shoot-out loss to Argentina on 18 December. The following day, Benzema announced his international retirement. The end of a tumultuous story to the end of the selection.
A little over a month later, cold and after collecting various elements, Daniel Riolo, editorial director and journalist RMC Sport, revealed on Wednesday behind the scenes of Benzema’s package during the World Cup, criticizing the management of Didier Deschamps and the egos of some managers. . In response to these revelations, the French team’s entourage contacted Foot to shed another light on this whole story. First, with an update on what happened on November 19, the day Benzema’s withdrawal was formalized following an injury sustained in training.
That evening, the Real forward went to the Aspetar clinic in Doha accompanied by French team doctor Franck Le Gall and two members of the Blues’ security service. Then the decision is made not to keep it. On the side of the French team, it is explained that Benzema then decides to leave Qatar as soon as possible to return to Madrid and that his personal assistant, present in Doha, struggles to find him a private plane. Problem: this turns out to be impossible because private flights are prohibited from flying over Iraq and/or Ukraine at night.
Benzema will be directed to the first scheduled flight the next morning. His personal assistant and Blues staff are organizing part of the night for his departure, with a first safe arrival at Doha airport and a second arrival in Madrid, where he is expected to be watched by security staff.
“We didn’t want to wake up all the players to do a guard of honor for Benzema”
The French team’s point of view is therefore to say that the federation did not let Benzema fend for himself and that the plane ticket was paid for him. She adds that he could have stayed longer at the Blues’ base camp to greet his teammates, but that it was his choice to join Madrid so soon. Before leaving, he is said to have visited Mohamed Sanhadji, the Blues’ director of security, to ask him to greet the other players to assure them of his full support.
“We weren’t going to wake up all the players at 5 in the morning to do a guard of honor for Benzema,” said a close friend of the Blues. Who adds that in his haste, Benzema forgot his eight pairs of crampons in Qatar… and that his assistant had to ask the FFF to send them back by post, which was done. Daniel Riolo, he explained this on Wednesday in After: “When they leave Benzema and the doctor from the French team says: ‘it’s good, you’re injured, you’re going’ and that we take a plane to him at 6 am It is strange the way we say to a guy who is called back to the French team: ‘you leave at night.’ He left, hence his silence in the weeks that followed.
But what happened before the announcement of Benzema’s package? The French team’s entourage assures that it is the former Lyonnais who himself decides to speed up his runs on the day he is injured. At present, he has not played since coming on in the Champions League on November 2 due to physical problems, and the first game of the World Cup against Australia (November 22) is fast approaching. The French team explains that from the start of Benzema’s injury there were communication problems. Real would not have provided any medical documents to the Blues.
And the diagnosis of “muscle fatigue” would not have been detailed either by the club or by the player. It is explained that, conversely, in the case of Raphaël Varane, who was also injured before the World Cup, Manchester United cooperated fully by providing all the necessary medical documents. And the defender agreed to be accompanied by a member of the Blues’ medical team, in Manchester and then in Lille, in his recovery programme. For the French team, there is no doubt that the diagnosis made by the Blues’ doctor regarding Benzema was the right one.
To the leadership of the Blues, there was a wolf about the physical flaws in Benzema
We also reiterate with RMC that Deschamps has no doubts when he announces his list for the World Cup on November 9. He has Benzema in mind as a starter. However, the French team’s entourage believe he could “easily” justify not calling him up due to the uncertainty surrounding his injury. A vagueness which therefore extended to Qatar. Again, the recovery protocol is reported to be very clear for Varane when the Blues arrive in Qatar on November 16, but not for Benzema.
In its version of the facts brought to the RMC, the French team’s entourage goes further, arguing that the Ballon d’Or initially refuses to train and wants to “manage himself”. The management of the committee is questioned, but this is a holder, one of the best players in the world. However, precautions were taken. Three days earlier, Marcus Thuram was called. No coincidence given Benzema’s situation, this choice is a certainty in case of concern with the number 19. The management of the Blues clearly believes that there is a wolf regarding the Madrid player.
One episode is particularly highlighted: on November 12, Benzema is at his ground to present his Ballon d’Or in Lyon. The French team’s entourage claim to have called him to offer to send him a member of the medical team for treatment. Also according to this version of France’s team, Benzema never responded. Unlike Presnel Kimpembe, so closely followed by the medical staff of the Blues.
With RMC, the entourage of the Blues also sheds light on what happened when Benzema returned to Madrid. It would have been agreed that he continue to indulge himself. He took a few days on holiday in Reunion before returning to Madrid and resuming training with his club on 10 December. Five days later he played again in a friendly with his club. Which leads the French team to say that it is impossible to say that he could have played in the quarter-final of the World Cup against England (December 10) even if he was part of the playing list and that this calendar confirms that the diagnosis was correct .
The answer from the French team on managing egos
On Wednesday, Daniel Riolo also pointed the finger at Deschamps and his difficulties in “managing egos”. In response, we remember on the side of the French team that the coach gave an ultra-positive speech about the Real player in Clairefontaine at the start of the Blues rally. And that he confirmed in front of the chairman of the FFF, the sports minister and about fifty people that “it is a great chance for France to get Karim Benzema”.
Daniel Riolo also said that the return of Benzema to the selection in June 2021 after a six-year absence had caused some tension with some leaders of the team, such as Paul Pogba. The French team’s entourage claim that this supposed Pogba-Benzema rivalry makes no sense as the Turinese were not present at the World Cup. As for the management of egos, the French team also takes the defense of Deschamps there by emphasizing that he knows how to manage strong personalities and that the course of the tournament in Qatar confirmed it. With him, the Blues played in a second World Cup final in a row.
The FFF and Elysée had also invited Benzema to participate in the final against Argentina. Entourage of the Blues recalls that he rejected the two proposals and, more generally, regrets that Benzema has been presented as the “victim” since the start of the controversies, in contrast to Deschamps, who would have suffered each time the events.