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Blues: Karim Benzema, alone on his cloud

A week in the stars: six days after lifting his fifth Champions League at the Stade de France, Karim Benzema delighted the same venue by scoring with the France team on Friday against Denmark (1-2), without achieving save the Blues from the misstep.

He who was banned for so long from this lawn of Seine-Saint-Denis made it his garden in a few days… A trophy on Saturday in the jersey of Real Madrid, a goal worthy of a Ballon d’Or on Friday, under the blue tunic: the week would have been perfect for the 34-year-old center-forward without a defeat suffered in the last minutes.

The public was not mistaken, singing at length in honor of “Nueve”, author Friday of his 37th goal in selection, the 10th since his surprise return a year ago, after five years away from Clairefontaine and of Saint Denis.

If the Blues have not succeeded in everything, far from it, the favorite for the next Ballon d’Or ceremony has for its part chosen to stay on its cloud.

And how ! His electrifying sequence in the 51st minute, at the conclusion of a one-two with Christopher Nkunku, not without leaving three defenders in place, lit up an evening that had been relatively poor in opportunities until then.

Karim Benzema scorer for the France team against Denmark in Saint-Denis, June 3, 2022 (AFP – Franck FIFE)

Despite a truncated preparation – he did not participate in any intense collective session this week, except on the eve of the match – the Madrid player had already obtained the most stunning opportunity of the first period, a succession of sparkling dribbles . But his shot had been countered, on a service from N’Golo Kanté (13th).

– With Mbappé, truncated connection –

After a festive detour to Madrid on Sunday, the former Lyonnais returned to Clairefontaine on Monday evening with a smile, after missing the March rally through injury.

Blues star striker Kylian Mbappé (C) tries to break through the Danish defensive curtain at the Stade de France on June 3, 2022 (AFP - Geoffroy VAN DER HASSELT)
Blues star striker Kylian Mbappé (C) tries to break through the Danish defensive curtain at the Stade de France on June 3, 2022 (AFP – Geoffroy VAN DER HASSELT)

A few congratulations from his teammates later, the Madrilenian resumed the thread of his blue story: out of the question for him to miss the first meeting despite a tough physical sequence and a long season. Out of the question, either, to leave the field after the Danish goals: the Madrid player played 90 minutes in Saint-Denis.

“His return went very well, we’re happy for him. He’s a great professional, he’s always at the top level, it’s not for nothing that he’s one of the best N.9s in the game. world”, had greeted his partner Benjamin Pavard at a press conference in recent days.

If his association with Mbappé was particularly scrutinized after the episode of the Parisian’s extension to PSG at the expense of Real, it was reduced to half-time, after the exit on injury of the Bondynois, touched in the left knee.

This is perhaps the main challenge that awaits Benzema for the next meetings of the Blues, starting with the trip to Croatia on Monday: to perk up, and find the flame of a duo author of 15 of the last 27 goals of the Blues.

Because unlike the last edition of the League of Nations, where two goals from Benzema were enough to overthrow Belgium and Spain in the Final 4 in Italy, this time, France lost in spite of him.

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