Karim Benzema has announced his retirement from international football at the age of 35 after missing France’s run to the World Cup final.
Benzema was sent home on the eve of the tournament after picking up an injury, but there was some speculation that he could have returned for the final after playing in a friendly for Real Madrid.
However, he reportedly rejected the opportunity to go back to Qatar after falling out with manager Didier Deschamps, and has now taken to social media to confirm that he has decided to call time on his international career.
”I made the effort and the mistakes it took to be where I am today and I’m proud of it! I have written my story and ours is ending,” Benzema wrote on Instagram on Monday afternoon.
Benzema’s shock announcement comes less than 24 hours after France’s defeat against Argentina, as Deschamps’s side were denied in their quest to win back-to-back World Cups.
Benzema rejected an offer from French president Emmanuel Macron to take his personal private jet to Qatar for Sunday’s final.
That followed his ‘I’m not interested’ message ahead of the final as he strongly hinted he would snub any call-up.
He did, however, post a good luck message to his team-mates that read: ‘It’s time… all together. Vamonos. Come on Les Bleus.’
Deschamps is planning to hold talks with the French Football Federation in the new year over his future, but Benzema has opted to not wait to see how those discussions play out and has quit the national team.
Benzema finishes his France career with 37 goals in 97 caps, but his journey with the national team has been far from smooth since his debut 15 years ago.
Benzema made his international debut against Austria in March 2007 and scored during his substitute appearance in the second-half.
He was selected for France’s Euro 2008 squad but was criticised for his performances in the group stages of the tournament as the team crashed out early.
Despite playing regularly during the qualification campaign, Benzema was left out of France’s squad for the 2010 World Cup, though coach Raymond Domenech insisted it was due to his club form with Real Madrid rather than his alleged involvement in a sex scandal at the time.
Benzema would play at Euro 2012 and World Cup 2014 but his part in the sex tape blackmail plot involving France team-mate Mathieu Valbuena led to a five-year absence from the international fold, which included their victorious 2018 World Cup campaign.
He returned to the France squad for Euro 2020 last year and scored four goals during the tournament to end up as the third-highest goalscorer.
After impressing in the UEFA Nations League finals, Benzema won the first trophy of his time with the national side.
Following an excellent year in which he won the Champions League and the Ballon d’Or, Benzema had expected to be a force in the French attack at the World Cup until his injury intervened.
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