Benzema declares himself fit for France opener
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Karim Benzema has declared himself 100 per cent fit for France’s opening match of Euro 2020 against Germany in Munich on Tuesday.
The Real Madrid forward earned a surprise recall to Didier Deschamps squad ahead of the finals, as he had previously been exiled from the international set-up, with his last appearance for Les Bleus having come back in 2015.
However, Deschamps opted to include Benzema in his Euro plans, with the striker perhaps being rewarded for an impressive season at club level, as he netted 30 goals for Real during the 2020-21 campaign, 23 of which came in La Liga.
Benzema’s first appearance back in the squad came in the 3-0 friendly victory over Wales earlier this month, while he also started the win over Bulgaria in France’s final Euro 2020 warm-up match, although he was forced off during the first half of that contest after suffering an injury scare.
The 33-year-old was replaced by Olivier Giroud, who went on to score a brace, but the concern after the match was surrounding the fitness of Benzema and whether he would be fit to play any role at the Euros.
Deschamps was quick to play down the severity of the issue following the contest and Benzema has now confirmed that his substitution was merely a precaution and he will be fit for France’s Group F opener against Germany.
“I’m very good. I was able to resume training with the group yesterday,” Benzema told Telefoot. “There was no pain. I didn’t think about the fact that I could have had to forfeit the Euros.
“It was a big pain but it was only a blow. It was not necessary to stay more minutes on the ground so as not to force it, so I decided to go out.
“We have a very good medical staff so everything was done very quickly. If I resumed training with the group yesterday, it is because I have no discomfort, no pain.
“I feel good, I worked in the gym so I am 100 per cent.”
The news of Benzema’s availability will be a huge boost for the World Cup winners, as they face a difficult route through to the last-16 after being drawn against, not only three-time champions Germany, but also title holders Portugal and a Hungary side who reached the knockout stages at Euro 2016.
Benzema will be hoping to play a key role for France in what will be his first major international tournament since the 2014 World Cup and he is likely to team up in the final third with Paris Saint-Germain forward Kylian Mbappe.
The former Lyon star is certainly looking forward to playing alongside Mbappe, who he believes can make the difference for France in their pursuit of a first European Championship title since 2000.
“I had seen him on TV and I had already played against him at club level,” Benzema said of Mbappe.
“For his young age, he is already one of the best. I like playing with him a lot. I have a lot of fun because he’s someone who can make a difference at any time.
“He goes fast, he knows how to play one-touch, he knows how to win, he knows how to do everything. It’s important for the French team to have a player like him.
“There are always things to improve in football, but the main thing in important games is to be there and make a difference.”