Benzema rested for Italy clash

  • Last Updated: November 8 2012, 14:15 GMT

Karim Benzema has been left out of the France squad for next week's friendly against Italy with coach Didier Deschamps allowing the Real Madrid star time to overcome a minor thigh complaint.

Karim Benzema: Struggling with a thigh problem

Benzema missed the midweek Champions League draw against Borussia Dortmund and will not be rushed back for the clash in Parma next Wednesday.

"I got the phone call this morning and there is little probability of him being involved for Real this Sunday," Deschamps said.

"It is not a big injury but there was too much uncertainty regarding him playing this weekend or next week.

"Therefore it seemed wiser to leave him out and let it heal."

Lille striker Dimitri Payet is his replacement while there was also a recall for Lyon playmaker Yoann Gourcuff.

"Gourcuff can play up front or in midfield," added Deschamps.

"He is a creative player and I don't need to talk about his technical qualities.

"He has the ability to play well when he is feeling good, as he is now.

"That is something that can be important for a squad."

France will hope to build on their World Cup qualifying draw in Spain last time out against the Azzurri.

"All the players who were involved in Spain felt a bond," Deschamps said.

"Obviously the group ethic is important but we must not get carried away. Italy are a great team, a finalist at Euro 2012."

Lille midfielder Rio Mavuba has been left out as he battles back from a knee operation.

The France squad is: Lloris (Tottenham), Mandanda (Marseille), Landreau (Lille);

Clichy (Manchester City), Evra (Manchester United), Debuchy (Lille), Jallet, Sakho (both PSG), Rami (Valencia), Yanga-Mbiwa (Montpellier), Koscielny (Arsenal); Cabaye (Newcastle), Gourcuff, Gonalons (both Lyon), Matuidi (Paris St Germain), Valbuena (Marseille), Capoue (Toulouse), M Sissoko (Toulouse); Giroud (Arsenal), Gomis (Lyon), Menez (Paris St Germain), Ribery (Bayern Munich), Payet (Lille).

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