France: Giroud lost four men’s record goals with Benzema’s return

Olivier Giroud has been left out of the France squad for their upcoming Nations League games following the return of Karim Benzema.

Benzema missed Didier Deschamps’ most recent squad through injury and in his absence Giroud scored twice in friendlies against Ivory Coast and South Africa. Those efforts saw the AC Milan striker move within three goals of Thierry Henry’s French record of 51.

Other notable changes to the squad include Marseille midfielder Boubacar Kamara, who received his first call-up. Arsenal defender William Saliba, on loan at Nice, was also selected again after winning two caps in the previous round.

Giroud, 35, was a reliable servant for his national side when called up, having been a key figure in the side that won the 2018 World Cup. He went on to have a respectable return domestically this season, scoring nine goals in 28 Serie A appearances.

The change is hardly surprising though as Benzema has arguably been the most potent striker in European football this season. The Real Madrid striker has scored 27 goals in 31 in La Liga this season, as well as 15 goals in the Champions League, where he led his side to the Champions League final.

France will face Croatia home and away, travel to Austria and host Denmark next month in the Nations League, which they won last year.

The France team of 24 Nations League players:

Guardians: Alphonse Areola (West Ham United), Hugo Lloris (Tottenham Hotspur), Mike Maignan (AC Milan).

Defenders: Jonathan Clauss (RC Lens), Lucas Digne (Aston Villa), Lucas Hernandez (Bayern Munich), Théo Hernandez (AC Milan), Presnel Kimpembe (Paris St Germain), Jules Kounde (Sevilla), Benjamin Pavard (Bayern Munich), William Saliba (Olympique de Marseille), Raphaël Varane (Manchester United).

Midfielders: Matteo Guendouzi (Olympique de Marseille), Boubacar Kamara (Olympique de Marseille), NGolo Kante (Chelsea), Adrien Rabiot (Juventus), Aurélien Tchouamani (Monaco).

Forwards: Wissam Ben Yedder (Monaco), Karim Benzema (Real Madrid), Kingsley Coman (Bayern Munich), Moussa Diaby (Bayer Leverkusen), Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid), Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain), Christopher Nkunku (RB Leipzig) .

(Photo: Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)

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