Undoubtedly, one of the best players in the world today is Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema. After the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo, he took the baton and is now in charge not only of making the team play, but also of scoring the decisive goals for los Merengues. Much is expected of him at Qatar 2022.

Likewise, the France National Team, led by World Champion player and coach Didier Deschamps, enjoys pairing world soccer stars such as Paul Pogba, Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappé with an ace the size of Karim Benzema.

It is therefore virtually certain that Benzema will lead Les Bleus' attack at the upcoming FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. However, this was not always the case. The 1987-born player has not played in all the World Cups he could. Find out why he missed South Africa 2010 and Russia 2018.

How many FIFA World Cups has Karim Benzema played in?

Unfortunately for France, the World Cup, the fans and for soccer itself, Karim Benzema has only participated in one FIFA World Cup so far. That of Brazil 2014, in which Les Bleus were eliminated 1-0 in the Quarter Finals by Germany, the eventual champions of that edition.

In Brazil 2014, Karim Benzema increased that feeling of regret for not having been able to enjoy more World Cups. He played all 90 minutes of the five games France played in the tournament. He also showed his quality with 3 goals and 2 assists.

Karim Benzema's numbers with the France National Team

After making his international debut for France in March 2007, at just 19 years of age in a match against Austria in which he scored the winning goal, Benzema has played 94 games, including friendlies, Euro and World Cup Qualifiers, European Championship, FIFA World Cup and the Nations League.

While Benzema's style of play is much more focused on creating chances for his teammates and circulating the ball, his goalscoring quota is worthy of the world's top killers. With France, he has so far scored 36 goals and 20 assists. 

Why Karim Benzema did not play in the 2010 and 2018 World Cups?

Because his parents are originally from Algeria, Benzema may have chosen to represent that country. However, he always expressed his desire to play for the France National Team. He represented Les Bleus at both youth and junior level, until he started his senior career at the age of 19.

After his spectacular debut, it looked set to be the start of Karim's long and torrid romance with the France National Team. His inclusion in the roster for the 2008 European Cup reinforced it. However, disputes soon began that would end up depriving the former Lyon player of playing in more major tournaments with Les Bleus.

At the end of the 2008 European Cup, Benzema was accused by several of his teammates of being arrogant, including then veterans William Gallas and Claude Makelele. These disputes did not do his reputation any good and France's coach at the time, Raymond Domenec, did not even include him in the preliminary 30-man squad for the FIFA World Cup South Africa 2010.

After a disastrous World Cup, Domenech was sacked and replaced by Laurent Blanc, who brought Karim Benzema back into the France squad. With Laurent on the bench, Karim participated in the European Cup 2012 and the FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014.

Once again, everything was going well between Karim Benzema's relationship and the French national team until a scandal broke in 2016 involving him in an attempt to extort money from fellow international Mathieu Valbuena. After the investigation, the French Federation decided to veto him and Didier Deschamps did not include him in the European Cup 2016, which was played precisely on French soil. 

The veto or blocking of Karim Benzema was maintained for almost 6 years, so the Real Madrid star was also not considered to participate in the FIFA World Cup Russia 2018. His return to the France National Team was given until June 2021 prior to the European Cup 2020 in which he was part of Les Bleus.

Ahead of Qatar 2022, he took part in 7 European Qualifiers matches in which he scored 5 goals and provided an assist to help France secure qualification for the upcoming FIFA World Cup, where he is expected to lead the French attack alongside Kylian Mbappé, Olivier Giroud and Antoine Griezmann. A forward line that, at least on theory, looks imposing.