Karim Benzema Wishes France the Best, Not Holding Out for National Team Call-Up

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistFebruary 17, 2019

AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS - FEBRUARY 13: Karim Benzema of Real Madrid celebrates 0-1 during the UEFA Champions League  match between Ajax v Real Madrid at the Johan Cruijff Arena on February 13, 2019 in Amsterdam Netherlands (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images)
Soccrates Images/Getty Images

Karim Benzema holds no grudges against France's selectors despite his four-year exodus from the squad, wishing the team the best and saying he won't drive himself "crazy" over regaining his place.

The Real Madrid striker hasn't played for France since his alleged participation in the sex-tape blackmail scandal involving international team-mate Mathieu Valbuena. Benzema, 31, appeared on Telefoot (h/t AFP, via AS) and was serene over his absence.

He said: "I'm not going to drive myself crazy waiting for a call from the national team. Besides, the France team is now something else: They are champions of the world, there is a new generation, young players, and they are very good. I only wish them the best."

Benzema is on course to challenge for his best scoring season at Real after almost 10 years at the club, having netted 19 times in 39 appearances—his career-best campaign was the 32 goals scored in 2011-12.

The most recent of those strikes came when he scored the opener in Real's 2-1 first-leg victory at Ajax in the UEFA Champions League last 16:

The former Lyon striker is right in that France haven't suffered since he left the squad, finishing as runners-up to Portugal at Euro 2016 before winning the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia in some style.

Benzema, meanwhile, has also enjoyed elevated success at club level and gone from winning four major titles in his first six years with Real to winning four in the past three seasons (2015-18). That haul included Real becoming the first team to win three successive Champions League crowns.

His goal at the Johan Cruyff Arena in Amsterdam, Netherlands also boosted him into the upper echelon of all-time Champions League scorers, per Goal:

While Benzema may be content out of the France setup, French football podcaster Rich Allen noted the forward wasn't always well-regarded for his work rate in national team colours:

France coach Didier Deschamps—who has served in the role since 2012—indicated to French radio in January (h/t Agustin Martin of AS) he wasn't ready to forgive Benzema for his role in the Valbuena scandal. After being left out of the France squad, Benzema suggested Deschamps was bowing to "a racist part of France."

Benzema's overall record for Los Blancos stands at 211 goals in 451 appearances. ESPN FC's Dermot Corrigan detailed his ratio in Spain's top flight before Sunday's 2-1 defeat at home to Girona:

By the time Euro 2020 comes around, Real's hitman will be 32 and possibly hoping to prioritise the final year of his contract, which is set to expire in June 2021.

Neither Benzema nor Deschamps seem inclined to reunite in the near future, and there seems little reason to alter that course as both continue to succeed without one another.

Related

    Belgium Stroll Past Cyprus

    World Football logo
    World Football

    Belgium Stroll Past Cyprus

    James Dudko
    via Bleacher Report

    Gnabry Stunner Sparks Arsenal Fans 😡

    Wenger haters come out after ex-Gunner hits golazo

    FIFA World Cup logo
    FIFA World Cup

    Gnabry Stunner Sparks Arsenal Fans 😡

    Wenger haters come out after ex-Gunner hits golazo

    via mirror

    Umtiti: I Will Stay at Barca

    World Football logo
    World Football

    Umtiti: I Will Stay at Barca

    Tom Sunderland
    via Bleacher Report

    Man City Ready to Offer $112M for Skriniar

    Plus more rumours from the back pages

    World Football logo
    World Football

    Man City Ready to Offer $112M for Skriniar

    Plus more rumours from the back pages

    Sky Sports
    via Sky Sports