20 Dec 2022

France's Benzema retires from international football

5:43 am on 20 December 2022

France striker Karim Benzema 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.

Real Madrid's Karim Benzema.

Karim Benzema playing for Real Madrid. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Ballon d'Or winner Benzema, who scored 37 times in 97 appearances, was expected to lead the line for France in Qatar but missed the World Cup after suffering a thigh injury in training the day before the start of the tournament.

"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 is ending," Benzema wrote on Twitter.

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 omitted from the next two major tournament squads over a blackmail scandal.

He was recalled for Euro 2020 last year, where Didier Deschamps' side suffered an early exit, and helped France win the Nations League in October 2021.

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 LaLiga 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 the World Cup, which ended in a 4-2 defeat on penalties to Argentina in Sunday's final.