After missing the 2022 World Cup, the striker has retired from France duty
Karim Benzema has retired from France duty, taking to social media to announce the decision on his birthday. The striker missed the World Cup.
“I put in the effort and made the mistakes necessary to get to where I am today, and I’m proud of that,” Benzema wrote. “I’ve written my story and ours has reached its end.”
In 97 appearances for France, the Real Madrid striker scored 37 goals and supplied 20 assists. A legend of Les Bleus.
Indeed, Benzema is the fifth-highest scorer in the history of the French national team. He ended up four short of Michele Platini in fourth.
Benzema was set to be one of France’s leaders in Qatar, but had to leave the squad on the eve of the World Cup after suffering a thigh injury.
He could have stayed in Qatar, however: according to L’Équipe, the Ballon d’Or holder might even have been fit for the last 16.
But France boss Didier Deschamps preferred not to keep him at the World Cup, and sent him home as soon as the extent of his injury was revealed.
Benzema responded with a series of thinly-veiled social-media retorts - including images of himself posing with his Ballon d’Or trophy…
Zinedine Zidane turned down the chance to go to Qatar for the World Cup final. Right away, Benzema posted a photo of himself with the ex-Madrid boss. Karim also refused to go.
Benzema only played at one World Cup, in 2014, and scored three goals. Despite his talent, he was left out of the squad for South Africa 2010.
In 2015, Benzema was banished from the international fold over his involvement in a plot to blackmail his France team-mate Mathieu Valbuena.
During the striker’s absence from the national team, France were runners-up at Euro 2016 - and won their second World Cup at Russia 2018.
Recalled in 2021 after six years away, Benzema scored four goals at Euro 2020 and was France’s best player, together with Kylian Mbappé.
Benzema’s World Cup absence is a sad end to a France career overshadowed by off-the-field issues. Would he have made the difference had he played?