FIFA World Cup 2022: Manchester United star Anthony Martial among 3 main candidates to replace Karim Benzema in the France squad - Reports

Anthony Martial of Manchester United could replace Karim Benzema in France
Anthony Martial of Manchester United could replace Karim Benzema in France's 2022 FIFA World Cup squad.

Manchester United's Anthony Martial is among three candidates to replace the injured Karim Benzema in France's 26-man squad for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

The Real Madrid striker suffered an injury in a training session on 19 November. Upon further scans, it was revealed that he had a tear in his thigh muscle.

The 2022 Ballon d'Or winner is among a list of high-profile absentees at this World Cup, along with players such as Sadio Mane, Marco Reus, Paul Pogba and N'Golo Kante. Sevilla striker Wissam Ben Yedder is touted to be the favorite to replace Benzema, as per L'Equipe.

Along with Martial and Ben Yedder, Bayer Leverkusen's Moussa Diaby is also a candidate for a late call-up to manager Didier Deschamps' side. However, the former Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) player plies his trade on the wings rather than down the middle.

Breaking: Karim Benzema will MISS the World Cup. Confirmed. He will not be part of France 26 man squad. 🚨🇫🇷 #WorldCup2022

Ben Yedder, 32, is the most experienced option out of the trio and has three goals in his 19 senior caps for Les Bleus. He has scored 10 times and assisted twice in 21 games across competitions this campaign.

Martial, 26, has struggled for playing time at Manchester United under manager Erik ten Hag despite Cristiano Ronaldo's reduction in prominence. The 30-cap Frenchman has played just 293 minutes of competitive football spread across seven games in all competitions this season and has struggled with injuries himself.

Diaby's pace can be a threat in itself. The rapid winger specializes in taking on defenders and making darting runs down the flanks. He has eight goals and four assists in 22 games for Bayer across competitions this term.

France also have several options in their team to play up front, with Randal Kolo-Muani, Kylian Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann, and Olivier Giroud all specialist centre-forwards.

France's Karim Benzema sends emotional message after 2022 FIFA World Cup heartbreak

De ma vie je n’ai jamais abandonné mais ce soir il faut que je pense à l’équipe comme je l’ai toujours fait alors la raison me dit de laisser ma place à quelqu’un qui pourra aider notre groupe à faire une belle Coupe du Monde. Merci pour tous vos messages de soutien 🙌🏼❤️

Karim Benzema took to social media to send a message to fans after withdrawing from France's squad for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

He wrote (as translated from French):

"In my life I have never given up but tonight I have to think about the team as I have always done so reason tells me to leave my place to someone who can help our group make a good World Cup. Thank you for all your messages of support."

Benzema was France's top scorer at the 2014 FIFA World Cup with three goals before his team were knocked out in the quarter-finals by Germany. He was left out of the 2018 FIFA World Cup squad due to his alleged involvement in blackmailing then-France teammate Mathieu Valbuena.

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Edited by S Chowdhury
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