Official: Karim Benzema retires from international football

The veteran ended his tenure as a Frenchman on his 35th Birthday.

Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema has announced his retirement from the French National team on his 35th Birthday, the day after his nation fell to World Cup final defeat in Qatar.

The striker, who is the current Ballon D’or holder after a fantastic 2021-22 campaign, was due to take part in the World Cup and was called up by Didier Deschamps for the initial 26-man squad for the tournament, only to withdraw through injury on the eve of the tournament beginning.

And reports have since surfaced suggesting that the veteran striker, who has five goals in seven appearances for Real Madrid this season, could have remained with the squad and would have been fit for the round of 16, before it was later suggested that he could return for the final.

Benzema opted not to, however, and has now announced that he has played his last game for France in what was a shorter career at national level than it should have been following an incident involving himself and compatriot Mathieu Valbuena, for which Benzema was found guilty.

He leaves with 97 caps to his name, in which time he scored 37 times, leaving him 5th on the all-time rankings and one ahead of Kylian Mbappe.

Benzema scored in both the semi-finals and final of France’s UEFA Nations League win, but has not played a World Cup finals match since 2014.

“I made the effort and the mistakes it took to be where I am today and I’m proud of it!”, he wrote on Twitter. “I have written my story and ours is ending.”

The striker is out of contract in 2023 with Real Madrid, but is expected to stay on beyond his current deal. Real Madrid have agreed a deal to sign teenage sensation Endrick from Palmeiras, but that will only take place in 2024 when the Brazilian turns 18 years old.

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Ben Browning

Ben Browning

Football writer and analyst. Long-time writer of all things Arsenal and avid watcher of European football. Happy to discuss all things football over on Twitter.

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