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Lion Links: 12/20/22

Karim Benzema announces international retirement, whose stock rose in the World Cup, Vivianne Miedema will miss World Cup, and more.

FBL-WC-2022-TRAINING-FRA Photo by FRANCK FIFE/AFP via Getty Images

Happy Tuesday, everyone! I’m not sure how the World Cup went by as quickly as it did, and I’m not quite sure what to do with my free time now that it’s over. I suppose all that’s left is to start counting down to the kickoff of the next Major League Soccer season. As always, there’s plenty to cover in the world of soccer, so let’s get into it.

Karim Benzema Retires from International Game

Karim Benzema announced his retirement from international soccer on Monday. Benzema won the Ballon d’Or earlier this year, but missed the entirety of the World Cup due to a thigh injury he sustained in the buildup to the tournament. While there were rumors that he could make a shock return to the team for the final, that ultimately didn’t happen and France lost to Argentina on penalties. Benzema has now called time on his international career at the age of 35 and will finish with 37 goals in 97 appearances for his country.

Post-World Cup Stock Watch

Nothing makes a player’s stock rise more than an impressive run at a World Cup, and there are a number of players who have seen their standing rise as a result of their participation in Qatar 2022. Sofyan Amrabat and Azzedine Ounahi are a pair of midfielders for the fourth-place-finishing Moroccan team, both of whom drew rave reviews for their performances in Qatar. Other players who could soon find themselves on the move include Alexis Mac Allister and Enzo Fernandez of Argentina, and Croatian goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic. With the winter transfer window just around the corner it will be extremely interesting to see who moves where, and for how much.

Vivianne Miedema Will Miss World Cup

Arsenal striker Vivianne Miedema will miss next summer’s World Cup after tearing the Anterior Cruciate Ligament in her left knee last Thursday. Miedema went down with a non-contact injury and unfortunately the diagnosis is about as bad as it gets. She’s expected to have surgery soon and the timetable of 10-12 months to make a full recovery rules her out of next summer’s competition. Her absence deprives the Netherlands of a weapon very few countries can boast the equal of, as she’s scored a staggering 95 goals in 115 appearances at only 26 years of age. It will be an unmitigated shame to not be able to watch her play next summer.

MLS Announces Generation Adidas Class and Eligible Player List

Major League Soccer has announced the 2023 Generation Adidas Class ahead of tomorrow’s MLS SuperDraft. The class is comprised of eight players, and if/when they are drafted, the salaries of those players will not count against a team’s annual salary budget until they graduate to senior contracts. Notable names include San Diego State’s CJ Fodrey, who was named the 2022 Pac-12 Freshman of the Year, and Owen O’Malley, who helped lead Creighton to an appearance in this year’s College Cup semifinals, where the Blue Jays fell to Syracuse in penalties.

MLS also announced the full list of players who are eligible to be selected in this year’s draft, and it currently has over 350 names although it is subject to change.

Free Kicks
  • Arsenal is reportedly interested in signing Debinha from the North Carolina Courage, following the aforementioned injury to Miedema as well as an injury suffered by Beth Mead.

That’s all for me today. Y’all stay safe out there.