Karim Benzema calls full time on international football career

The 35-year-old Real Madrid striker missed France’s attempted defence of their World Cup title due to injury.

Karim Benzema, who was expected to be a leading light in France's squad at Qatar 2022, missed the World Cup due to an injury and announced his retirement from international football on December 19, 2022 [File: Hannah McKay/Reuters]

French striker Karim Benzema has announced his retirement from international football on his 35th birthday, a day after Les Bleus lost to Argentina on penalties in the World Cup final.

The Ballon d’Or winner, who scored 37 times in 97 appearances for France, was expected to lead the nation’s line in Qatar but missed the World Cup after suffering a thigh injury in training the day before the tournament kicked off.

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

Benzema made his international debut in 2007. He played at the European Championship in 2008 and 2012 as well as the 2014 World Cup but was kept off the next two major tournament squads over a blackmail scandal.

He was recalled for Euro 2020 last year when Didier Deschamps’s side suffered an early exit, but Benzema went on to help France win the Nations League in October last year.

Benzema enjoyed a stellar campaign with Real Madrid last season, scoring 44 goals in 46 games in all competitions as he inspired them to a La Liga and Champions League double.

Since his return to the international team, Benzema had scored 10 goals in 16 appearances but was forced to sit out France’s defence of their World Cup title, which ended in a 4-2 defeat on penalties to Argentina in Sunday’s final.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies