Karim Benzema retired from international football on Monday, a day after France’s World Cup final loss to Argentina. Benzema withdrew from France’s World Cup roster before their first match in Qatar owing to a left thigh ailment.
The 35-year-old Real Madrid forward tweeted: “I’m proud of the effort and mistakes I made to get where I am. I ended our narrative.” Benzema, who won the Ballon d’Or in October, was keen to play in this year’s World Cup after being left off France’s roster in 2014.
He was banned from the France team for five and a half years because of a blackmail controversy involving Mathieu Valbuena. In a trial last year, he was given a one-year suspended prison sentence and fined $79,000. Didier Deschamps didn’t replace Kylian Mbappe for the Qatar World Cup. Mbappe earned the Golden Boot with eight goals, including a hat-trick in Sunday’s penalty shootout loss to Argentina.
Karim Benzema retired from international football
Benzema’s exit three days before the first match against Australia was a turning point. A knock to his left thigh in training while healing from a right thigh ailment required three weeks of rest. Nope His sudden departure from Qatar fueled rumors of a breach with the team and Deschamps. Deschamps said he wasn’t thinking about the striker, who remained on the team roster until the end of the competition.
His departure allowed France to return to the lineup it had before he returned just before Euro 2021, with Mbappe and Olivier Giroud as the top two forwards. Antoine Griezmann, whose star had dimmed since the last World Cup, reemerged in midfield. Benzema’s social media posts fueled the confusion.
Before the final, he said on Instagram, “I’m not interested.” Karim Benzema clashed with Didier Deschamps often. This message came after he declined Macron’s invitation to the World Cup final. The injury was only the latest episode in Benzema’s troubled French career. Benzema, who scored on his national debut in March 2007 against Austria, only won the 2021 Nations League.
He had multiple run-ins with Deschamps over the years, with the Algerian-born player suggesting Deschamps was being “racist” in keeping him out. He returned to the France team soon before the Covid-delayed Euro 2020, scoring 10 goals in a year, including four at the European Championships, but France lost to Switzerland in the last 16. Benzema can now focus on Real Madrid, where he’s won five Champions Leagues and four Spanish titles.