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Real Madrid's French forward Karim Benzema in a training session in Madrid on April 22. ((Pierre-Philippe Marcou/AFP/Getty Images))

Karim Benzema was left out of France's preliminary World Cup squad on Tuesday, with coach Raymond Domenech saying it's because of the Real Madrid striker's unimpressive season rather than any alleged involvement in a sex scandal.

Benzema has often been left on the bench and has scored only eight goals in the Spanish league this season after costing Madrid $44.4 million in 2009.

Benzema has been linked in the French media with an underage sex scandal involving an escort. Franck Ribery and Sidney Govou have also been linked, but were included in the 30-man squad along with Barcelona forward Thierry Henry.

"To me this is not a concern," Domenech said. "I'm only thinking about football and about what the players want to give on the pitch."

Domenech said Benzema had a difficult year at Madrid but that the former Lyon player would quickly bounce back.

"He is a young player and he still can dream," Domenech said. "I hope he will fight to come back to the team soon."

Veteran midfielder Patrick Vieira also didn't make the cut. Vieira, a former Arsenal player who has made 107 international appearances, returned to the Premier League with Manchester City from Inter Milan in January in a bid to regain his spot but failed to impress Domenech.

Domenech, who earlier said he would name a final 23-man squad as soon as Tuesday, changed his mind and finally opted for a larger group. Domenech has until June 1 to cut the squad down to 23 players for the tournament in South Africa.

France squad

Goalkeepers: Hugo Lloris (Lyon), Steve Mandanda (Marseille), Cedric Carrasso (Bordeaux), Mickael Landreau (Lille).

Defenders: Bacary Sagna (Arsenal), Eric Abidal (Barcelona), William Gallas (Arsenal), Patrice Evra (Manchester United), Rod Fanni (Rennes), Adil Rami (Lille), Sebastien Squillaci (Sevilla), Gael Clichy (Arsenal), Marc Planus (Bordeaux), Anthony Reveillere (Lyon).

Midfielders: Jeremy Toulalan (Lyon), Lassana Diarra (Real Madrid), Alou Diarra (Bordeaux), Yoann Gourcuff (Bordeaux), Abou Diaby (Arsenal), Yann M'Vila (Rennes), Florent Malouda (Chelsea).

Forwards: Sidney Govou (Lyon), Franck Ribery (Bayern Munich), Thierry Henry (Barcelona), Nicolas Anelka (Chelsea), Djibril Cisse (Panathinaikos), Andre-Pierre Gignac (Toulouse), Mathieu Valbuena (Marseille), Hatem Ben Arfa (Marseille), Jimmy Briand (Rennes).