Karim Benzema retires from international football

By Ken Andrew

Current Ballon d’or holder Karim Benzema announced his retirement from international football at the age of 35 on Monday. This decision was seen coming by many after he was not recalled to participate in the World Cup final, despite his name being in the squad list.

Benzema has had an extremely rough period with Les Bleu despite managing 37 goals in 97 appearances for them. The striker had not played for France since 2015. He was only recalled into the national team in 2021 for the Euro 2020 tournament. The five year exclusion was instigated by a blackmailing case against him filed by his former teammate Mathieu Valbuena.

Following Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure from Real Madrid in 2018, Benzema became a monster in attack for Los Blancos. His exploits led Madrid to multiple La Liga titles and a Champions League victory in 2022. He has featured in the La Liga team of the season since 2018 and won the topscorer ‘Pichichi’ trophy for the 21/22 season. His goal returns and performances in the same season led to him becoming the eighth different Real Madrid player to win the Ballon d’or. Even though he had spent a great part of his club career in the shadow of Ronaldo, Benzema eventually managed to show the world the full extent of his abilities.

Karim Benzema has 37 goals for Les Bleus

Benzema’s international career has not been devoid of controversy. Not only would he have had a greater input for Les Bleus, but also would have been a world champion. He probably would have been France’s all time top scorer, a fete now held by his rival Olivier Giroud.

His  focus will now be on having a successful season with Real Madrid upon the resumption of European Leagues.

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