Real Madrid star Karim Benzema was conspicuously absent from France retirement ceremony as recently retired members of the squad bid farewell to the national team.
The ceremony which took place at Stade de France was graced by four new names that have announced their exit from the international scene.
Manchester United’s Raphael Varane, Tottenham’s Hugo Lloris, former PSG star Blaise Matuidi, and Rennes goalkeeper were all lined up for the elaborate ceremony and final honors.
Karim Benzema was expected to make the list but he turned down the invitation and refused to attend the occasion due to his beef with France national team manager Didier Deschamps.
Karim Benzema clashed with Didier Deschamps in the buildup to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
He was called up for the squad but got injured in France team training and exited the squad for treatment.
Didier Deschamps refuse to call up a replacement for Karim Benzema but refused to comment when asked whether he will allow Karim Benzema back to the squad after the latter recovered before the end of the tournament.
It was pretty clear Karim Benzema fell out with Didier Deschamps following the World Cup bust-up.
He snubbed a call by French President Emmanuel Macron to board his private jet to the final of the tournament.
His retirement from the national team was also linked to the bust-up and it appears the Ballon d’Or holder is yet to be healed after the bust-up.
The retirement ceremony which was held by France national team for players was another flashpoint that awakened the beef between Benzema and Didier Deschamps.
L’Equipe reports the Real Madrid forward was invited via mail for the ceremony among the five names that were to be honored.
He reportedly turned down the invitation saying “he was not available.”
Karim Benzema was one of the most experienced players in France national team. He made his debut for the national team in 2008 and has won 97 caps, scoring 37 goals before calling time on his international career after missing the 2022 World Cup.
France honors four players who retired from the national team
The retirement ceremony was hosted before France Vs Netherlands opening Euro 2024 qualifiers. Leading the list of the retired players who were honored were Manchester United’s center-back Raphael Varane and Tottenham’s goalkeeper Hugo Lloris.
Former PSG defender Blaise Matuidi and Rennes goalkeeper Mandanda were also on the list.
Raphael Varane, 29, made his France national team debut in 2013. He played for Les Bleus for nine years before calling time on his international career in 2022.
He made 93 appearances for the team, scoring 5 goals. He won the 2018 World Cup and 2021 Nations League with the team.
Blaise Matuidi, 35, made his international debut for France national team in 2010. Blaise Matuidi announced his retirement from Les Bleus in 2022.
He made 84 appearances with the team, scoring 9 goals. He won the 2018 World Cup with the team.
Hugo Lloris, 36, quit the national team in 2022 as captain after the World Cup in Qatar. He made his international debut in 2008 and has won 145 caps with the team.
He won the 2018 World Cup and UEFA Nations League in 2021.
Steve Mandanda, 37, made his international debut with Les Bleus in 2008. He won 35 caps with the team and called time on his international career in 2022.
Mandanda won the 2018 World Cup with France and was included in France 2022 World Cup as a backup goalkeeper for Hugo Lloris.