On his 35th birthday, Karim Benzema confirmed his retirement from international football.
Karim Benzema has retired from international football after sitting out France’s run to the World Cup final due to injury.
The Real Madrid forward, who won the Ballon d’Or in October, announced the decision to retire from Les Bleus on his 35th birthday.
He tweeted: “I made the effort and mistakes it took to be where I am today and I’m proud of it!
“I wrote my story and ours ends.
Benzema was ruled out of the Qatar 2022 finals on the eve of the tournament after suffering a thigh injury in training in France.
He scored 37 goals in 97 games for France, making his debut against Austria in March 2007, but Benzema’s international career has been marred by long absences.
The former Lyon frontman narrowly missed out on the 2018 World Cup triumph in Russia while out of favor at the center of a then ongoing blackmail investigation.
This time he was hoping to play a big role in defending the trophy, but Benzema was troubled by the stupidity of running the tournament, which did not bode well.
He looked to prove his fitness but the injury apparently returned during his first full training session with Didier Deschamps’ side.
Benzema underwent an MRI at a hospital in Doha and was ruled out for three weeks to recover, leading to him leaving the France squad and not returning.
Deschamps said at the time: “I feel extremely sorry for Karim, who has made this World Cup his main goal.”
Benzema’s announcement came as France headed home from Qatar, a day after losing a stunning final to Argentina, losing 4-2 on penalties after a 3-3 draw.
Kylian Mbappe and Olivier Giroud have proved a prolific front pairing, meaning Benzema’s absence was hardly a factor for a France side that came agonizingly close to becoming the first team since Brazil 60 years ago to win back-to-back World Cup titles .
Two days before the final, amid speculation he could return to the France camp, Benzema posted a cryptic message on Instagram that read: “I’m not interested.”
He returned to training with Madrid ahead of the resumption of their season and may have been ready to play a role in the final as he was not formally removed from the French squad list.
However, when asked if Benzema could make a shock return to the final, Deschamps replied: “I don’t want to answer you. It’s a stupid question.”
There will be no going back now or in the future, with Benzema opting out of France duty three centuries short of a century of international caps.