Ancelotti denies Benzema being rested ahead of World Cup

By Sports Desk November 09, 2022

Real Madrid head coach Carlo Ancelotti has quelled suggestions that Karim Benzema is unavailable for club action in order to keep him fit for the World Cup.

The France international is set to represent the defending champions in Qatar but enters the tournament with a lack of minutes, having last appeared domestically against Elche on October 19.

Those fitness issues will once again keep Benzema absent from Thursday's trip to Cadiz, the final game before Qatar 2022, where Madrid are looking to bounce back after a surprise defeat to Rayo Vallecano on Monday.

Benzema's recent absence has not resulted in any concerns that he could be missing for France, leading to suggestions that he may just be being rested to ensure he does not get injured ahead of the tournament.

But Ancelotti denied that was the case.

"It has bothered me that he has not been able to help us with his quality - he has tried but he has not been able to come back from this small thing, so he is not available," Ancelotti said in Wednesday's press conference.

"I don't have to say anything to anyone. The first disappointed person is Karim, who arrives at the World Cup without the necessary minutes to be in good condition.

"To think that he has been rested, I do not believe it, it is silly. He has not stopped; he has trained alone, but the feelings he had were not good.

"It means he arrives at the World Cup with few minutes in his legs."

Asked whether Benzema ever felt his World Cup involvement was in doubt, Ancelotti added: "No, apart from that big injury against Celtic, it's been two small things."

Madrid's defeat last time out leaves the defending LaLiga champions five points adrift of leaders Barcelona, albeit with a game in hand, and Ancelotti highlighted a drop in intensity as the reason for his side's decline.

He added: "If you lower intensity against teams that do not play in Europe, such as Rayo, they can be at a higher level than the rest.

"It's less noticeable when you're playing against teams that do play in Europe."

Related items

  • Ancelotti suggests Spanish football has racism problem after Vinicius abused again Ancelotti suggests Spanish football has racism problem after Vinicius abused again

    Carlo Ancelotti suggested Spanish football has a "problem" with racism after Real Madrid star Vinicius Junior was abused again on Sunday.

    LaLiga launched an investigation on Monday after social media footage showed racist insults being directed at Vinicius during Madrid's 1-0 defeat at Real Mallorca on Sunday.

    The 22-year-old was subjected to racist abuse in both of Madrid's matches with city rivals Atletico Madrid this season, while LaLiga filed hate crime charges to Spanish courts after similar incidents in December's game with Real Valladolid.

    Vinicius accused LaLiga in December of "doing nothing" to combat racism, and his head coach feels Spanish football must face up to the issue.

    "The question I ask is this: What is the problem?" Ancelotti told reporters. "Vinicius? Vinicius' team-mates? What's the problem? To defend himself? What does Vinicius have to defend himself against? What do his team-mates have to defend themselves against? I don't know.

    "It seems like the problem is Vinicius, but the problem is what happens around him. Period.

    "It is a problem of Spanish football. I am a part of Spanish football and I think it's a problem that we have to solve. Because it seems that Vinicius is the culprit, but he is the victim of something that I don't understand."

    Federico Valverde defended Vinicius' exuberant playing style after he was fouled 10 times against Mallorca – the most by any Madrid player in a Spanish top-flight match since Isco against Real Betis in August 2013.

    Vinicius has won 79 fouls in LaLiga this season, 25 more than any other player, and Valverde feels Madrid's players must stand up for him to counter any opposition roughhouse tactics.

    "He is an incredible person, with a lot of values," Valverde said ahead of Madrid's Club World Cup semi-final against Egyptian side Al Ahly on Wednesday. "On the pitch, he tries to enjoy it, that's the way he is.

    "I always say that so many fouls on the pitch is part of the game, we have to defend him as team-mates.

    "Another thing is racism and what happens on the pitch, [there is] so much anger. He is a 22-year-old boy. I think Vinicius deserves respect."

  • Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and Chile officially launch joint 2030 World Cup bid Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and Chile officially launch joint 2030 World Cup bid

    World Cup holders Argentina have officially confirmed a joint bid alongside Uruguay, Paraguay and Chile to host the 2030 edition of the tournament.

    A bid from Argentina and Uruguay had initially been announced in 2017 but has since expanded.

    Uruguay hosted the inaugural World Cup in 1930 and would welcome the global showpiece for its centenary edition if successful.

    Speaking upon confirmation of the four-way bid, Argentine Football Association president Claudio Tapia laid out his hopes to bring the tournament back to the continent where it was first held.

    "We have the possibility of hosting this World Cup," he said. "It has the history, the essence, the passion with which we South Americans live football.

    "Today is a very important day for the history of these four countries, of these four federations that some time ago began with a dream

    "We know that this is a very big commitment and that we must show the world that Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and Chile are up to the job of hosting the 2030 World Cup."

    CONMEBOL president Alejandro Dominguez echoed those sentiments, adding: "Today we have a team, [and] we believe in greatness.

    "We are convinced that FIFA has the obligation to honour the memory of those who preceded us and made the first World Cup possible."

    There is scope yet for the bid to be bolstered by a fifth nation, with Argentina's president Alberto Fernandez adding that he hopes to see Bolivia also host games.

    "This candidacy is from the entire continent," he tweeted. "For this reason, I would like, and I am going to propose, that our brother country Bolivia be part of this dream."

  • High stakes for Galtier and PSG as Classique heralds start of demanding run High stakes for Galtier and PSG as Classique heralds start of demanding run

    Christophe Galtier wants cool heads when Paris Saint-Germain step into the Stade Velodrome cauldron to face Marseille on Wednesday, recognising a crunch phase of the season has arrived.

    Marseille-born Galtier, who began his playing career with the south-coast team, leads PSG into a Classique at the last-16 stage of the Coupe de France.

    It is a meeting of the top two teams in Ligue 1, and PSG will be back in Marseille later in the month for a clash in league competition.

    The Parisians also face Monaco and Lille in February, and they host the first leg of the keenly anticipated Champions League last-16 showdown with Bayern Munich next Tuesday.

    Asked about pressure during what is his first term at the helm, Galtier said: "There is pressure from the moment you sign the contract. You have to get results.

    "It is a month with a lot at stake. We will be playing in three competitions: the league, then tomorrow is a knockout game, and then the tie against Bayern Munich which everyone is looking forward to. That is also a knockout. There is a lot at stake and there are a lot of expectations this month."

    Sergio Ramos and Neymar are available after injury, but Kylian Mbappe remains absent with a thigh problem.

    Lionel Messi, after his winning goal against Toulouse on Saturday, will again be a player PSG look to for leadership.

    "It is not just a last-16 tie but a Classique," Galtier said.

    The coach is taking unusual measures to keep his mind on the job, even apparently snubbing family.

    "I am trying to close everything from the outside that could be reaching my phone from family members so that I can stay focused on preparing for the game," Galtier added.

    "We will need to be ourselves and play at our best level. We will need to be very good technically and have the ability to play under pressure from the opposition.

    "Regarding the context, all my players have played in these sorts of games before."

    It is this reason that encourages Galtier to believe his team should be able to cope with what should be a raucous atmosphere, feeding tensions on the pitch.

    "We can't be overcome by dissent," he said. "There could be incidents on the pitch. It is the biggest game of the year for many people, so we need to stay clear-headed.

    "I don't tell them to stay calm, because if you are calm you will fall asleep. You simply need to be clear-headed and play with quality."

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.