Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema has called his quit from the French national team, a day after his country’s penalty shootout loss in the world cup final to Argentina, which also happens to be his 35th Birthday.
The 2022 Ballon d’Or winner was one of a number of absentees and he was termed as a huge miss for France when he suffered an injury in training just a day before the start of the tournament, but he was not dropped from the list by coach Didier Deschamps alongside Lucas Hernandez who tore his ACL in the first match against Australia. Reports have it that he turned down an invite from president Emmanuel Macron to attend the final at the Lusail stadium.
In a post shared on his Instagram account, he said “I’ve made the efforts and mistakes that were necessary for me to be where I am today and I’m proud of it! I’ve written my story and ours comes to an end,”
Benzema played for France at the 2014 world cup in Brazil where he finished as their top goalscorer, but he was later ostracized by the team after the role he played in a sex-tape scandal with former international teammate Mathieu Valbuena, which led to him missing the 2018 world cup in Russia. He returned in 2021 for the Euros where he finished as France’s top scorer with four goals en route to their round of 16 exits in the hands of Switzerland. He later helped them to win the Uefa Nations League later in the same year as they beat Spain in the final.
The striker enjoyed his best season at Real Madrid in 2021-22, scoring 44 goals in 46 games across all competitions as the Spanish giants won La Liga and the Champions League — leading to his first Ballon d’Or win in October this year.
He has not been a regular starter for the Spanish champions this season owing to injury problems but he has still managed to score six goals in 12 appearances across all competitions. He is Madrid’s all-time top scorer with 329 goals, behind only Cristiano Ronaldo. He brings his international career to a close with 37 goals in 97 games.