Karim Benzema rejects invitation from French president to attend World Cup final - sources

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Karim Benzema has rejected an invitation from French President Emmanuel Macron to attend the World Cup final, sources told ESPN.

Benzema suffered a thigh injury days before France's first game of the competition, which led to him flying home.

Like the other players injured, Benzema was given the opportunity to join the presidential plane to travel to Doha for the final but, alongside Laurent Blanc, Zinedine Zidane and Michel Platini, he did not accept the invitation.

Lucas Hernandez, who also got injured during the first game against Australia, will not be there either.

Didier Deschamps didn't want to get drawn into the controversy in his prematch news conference on Saturday.

"There have been players injured and Karim was one of them. Since that time, I have had 24 players to look after," Deschamps said. "Asking this question [about Benzema returning] is clumsy in regards to them. I don't deal with invitations for the final for injured players or former players. Some will be there, others not."

On Friday, Benzema posted a photo on Instagram with the words "I am not interested," which very likely refers to the invitation.

A source told ESPN that Benzema "is fully behind the team and wants them to win this title, which will be his a little bit in a way."

Benzema is still officially part of the France squad at the World Cup as he was not replaced.

However, Paul Pogba, N'Golo Kante, Presnel Kimpembe and Christopher Nkunku will be there alongside Macron and his wife, Brigitte, as well as judo Olympic champion Teddy Riner, and former 1980s France international Alain Giresse.