Following France’s loss to Argentina in the World Cup final, Karim Benzema has firmly hinted that he will retire from international football.
After pulling out of France’s World Cup roster owing to an injury before the competition, the Ballon d’Or winner did not participate in the tournament in Qatar.
The 35-year-old, who has 97 caps for France with 37 goals, also had nothing to do with their triumph at the 2018 World Cup.
“I made the work and the mistakes it needed to be where I am today, and I’m proud of it,” the Real Madrid striker wrote on Twitter alongside a photo of himself wearing a France shirt beside the captain. “My tale is finished, and ours is coming to a close.”
Benzema’s career for France
Due to a sex video controversy involving teammate Mathieu Valbuena, Benzema’s relationship with Les Bleus has been tumultuous.
He was suspended from 2015 to 2021. Benzema returned to the national team for France’s Euro 2020 campaign but won the Nations League in 2021, scoring 37 goals in 97 games for Les Bleus.
He was chosen for the France team to compete in the 2022 World Cup, but he was forced to withdraw after he overcame the injuries that marred the beginning of his Real Madrid season.
J’ai fait les efforts et les erreurs qu’il fallait pour être là où je suis aujourd’hui et j’en suis fier !
J’ai écrit mon histoire et la nôtre prend fin. #Nueve pic.twitter.com/7LYEzbpHEs
— Karim Benzema (@Benzema) December 19, 2022
Rift with Didier Deschamps
Despite eventually healing quickly enough to play in the championship game, the Real Madrid striker reportedly got into a fight with France manager Didier Deschamps after being left off the team.
Deschamps had the choice to keep his 24-man team, which had performed brilliantly throughout the knockout stages, or bring back Benzema for the championship game.
Benzema publicly expressed his displeasure with the issue on Instagram by writing: “I am not interested.”
Deschamps declined to address the debate involving the forward in a press conference on Saturday.
“Players have been hurt, and Karim was one of them,” he stated. “Since then, I’ve had 24 players to care for.”
“It’s awkward to ask this question [regarding Benzema’s comeback]. I don’t deal with inviting injured or retired players to the championship game. Some will attend, while others won’t.”
Emmanuel Macron, the president of France, extended an invitation to the World Cup final, but the 35-year-old turned it down, expressing his frustration at not being a part of the game.
Although there have been many reports of an argument between the two at the time, neither Benzema nor the France manager has ever addressed the enormous gap in appearances for a player who was one of, if not the best, French forward at the time.
Nevertheless, Benzema ends his international career as the fifth-highest goal scorer in his country’s history, a remarkable accomplishment among many others.