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Karim Benzema Retires from International Play After France's Loss in World Cup

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVDecember 19, 2022

France's forward Karim Benzema looks on during a training session at the Jassim-bin-Hamad Stadium in Doha on November 17, 2022, ahead of the Qatar 2022 World Cup football tournament. (Photo by FRANCK FIFE / AFP) (Photo by FRANCK FIFE/AFP via Getty Images)
FRANCK FIFE/AFP via Getty Images

Real Madrid and France star Karim Benzema has announced his retirement from international football after France's defeat to Argentina in the World Cup final.

B/R Football @brfootball

Karim Benzema announces that he's retiring from international football on his 35th birthday. <br><br>The Frenchman scored 37 goals in 97 games since making his debut in 2007 πŸ‡«πŸ‡· <a href="https://t.co/QNiOPCp10S">pic.twitter.com/QNiOPCp10S</a>

"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 said, via Colin Millar of the Mirror.

The 35-year-old made the France squad ahead of the 2022 World Cup, but he suffered a thigh injury in training and was ruled out for the tournament. Though he was not replaced on the roster, he did not stay with the team and chose not to attend Sunday's final.

According to French newspaper L'Equipe (h/t Tom Blow of the Mirror), Benzema "cut off" communication with the team and head coach Didier Deschamps after they wouldn't let him stay following the injury.

Deschamps dodged questions on Benzema's availability after France's first two group-stage games.

"I have 24 players here and I'm thinking about them," he told reporters. "I will let you speak, debate, and imagine, but I'm not going to comment on things that don't concern our daily business."

Asked about Benzema again following victory in the semifinals over Morocco, Deschamps said, "I don't really want to answer that question."

Benzema was not part of France's 2018 World Cup-winning squad amid a blackmail scandal with former teammate Mathieu Valbuena, for which he received a one-year suspended prison sentence. He was also left off the 2010 World Cup roster despite competing with the team during qualifying.

He earned 97 caps across 15 years with the national team yet only appeared in one World Cup, helping the 2014 squad reach the quarterfinal with three goals and two assists in five matches.

The striker has been one of the world's best players at the club level, helping Real Madrid win five Champions League titles. He earned the 2022 Ballon d'Or after winning Champions League and La Liga titles with Los Blancos, scoring 44 goals in all competitions.