Video: Chelsea transfer target drops out of the World Cup squad after an uncompromising tackle from teammate
Christopher Nkunku suffered a training-related injury on Tuesday as France prepared to defend their World Cup title.
The RB Leipzig attacker, who reportedly has a deal in place to join Chelsea next summer, has been in outstanding form for his club over the past 18 months and was expected to make a significant impact in Qatar.
However, he limped out of training on Tuesday after an uncompromising challenge by Real Madrid’s Eduardo Camavinga, and subsequent scans revealed bad news.
The French Football Federation has confirmed that Christopher Nkunku will not be participating in the World Cup.
‘The RB Leipzig forward left Tuesday’s training session before the end after injuring his left knee. The scans taken in the evening unfortunately revealed that it was a sprain.
‘Didier Deschamps has recorded the withdrawal of Nkunku and a medical file was sent to FIFA, a regulatory prerequisite in order to replace an injured player in the squad following the submission of the squad list on Monday.
‘The name of Nkunku’s replacement will be communicated once the medical file has been validated by FIFA.
‘The whole group shares Christopher’s sadness and wishes him a speedy recovery.’
According to RMC Sport, Frankfurt striker Randal Kolo Muani has been selected to replace Nkunku, and the 23-year-old will fly out to join the France squad as soon as FIFA rubber-stamps his selection.
Nkunku and Camavinga both engaged in a challenge, and while the Madrid midfielder appeared to make minimal contact with his teammate, the attacker appeared to get his studs stuck in the ground as his knee buckled.
Nkunku was captured on camera writhing in pain and being consoled by his teammates before limping off the training field with the assistance of a physiotherapist as a stern-faced Deschamps observed.
Nkunku’s injury adds to France’s extensive list of problems, which includes the absences of Paul Pogba, N’Golo Kante, and Karim Benzema, who has been nursing a knock.
The Ballon d’Or winner, who continues to train separately, missed Real Madrid’s final match before the World Cup break but told L’Equipe on Tuesday, ‘I’m fine. I had a little pain but no tear or big injury. I can play but not at 100%.’