Karim Benzema has announced his retirement from international football on his 35th birthday, barely a day after France lost a devastating penalty shootout to Argentina in the World Cup final on Sunday.
The 2022 Ballon d’Or winner snubbed Emmanuel Macron’s invitation to the final on Sunday at Lusail Stadium after missing the competition in Qatar due to a thigh ailment.
The current Ballon D’Or winner wrote on Instagram: “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 France’s leading scorer at the 2014 World Cup, but he was later kicked off the team for his alleged involvement in a sex video scandal involving Mathieu Valbuena, a then-international colleague.
As a result, he was unable to participate in France’s 2018 World Cup victory.
He was recalled by France’s head coach Didier Deschamps for the European Championship last year, when he led the team in goals with four, although the French team was eliminated in the round of 16 after losing to Switzerland on penalties.
Later that same year, Benzema assisted Deschamps’ team in winning the UEFA Nations League as France defeated Belgium and Spain in the semifinals and championship to take home the trophy.
In 2021–22, the Real Madrid striker had his best season at the club level, tallying 44 goals in 46 games across all competitions as his team won LaLiga and the Champions League. This performance earned him the Ballon d’Or in October of this year.
Due to physical issues, he has not featured as much for the Spanish champions this season, but in 12 appearances across all competitions, he has scored six goals. With 329 goals, he ranks second all-time among Madrid goal scorers, only behind Cristiano Ronaldo.
In 97 games, Benzema scored 37 goals for his country.
Karim Mostafa Benzema, a French professional footballer who plays as a striker for La Liga team Real Madrid and serves as its captain, was born on December 19, 1987.
Benzema is recognized as one of the greatest strikers of all time and is a prolific and imaginative attacker.
He is second all-time in goals scored and assists given for Real Madrid.
With Real Madrid, Benzema has amassed 23 trophies, including five UEFA Champions League championships, two Copa del Reys, and four La Liga championships.
Benzema For Les Blues
Benzema, a French international, made his senior debut for France in 2007 at the age of 19. He won the UEFA European Under-17 Championship in 2004.
Since then, he has amassed almost 95 caps, is France’s fifth-highest all-time leading scorer, has participated in four major tournaments, and has scored in three of them.
After being accused of blackmailing someone in 2015, Benzema was controversially taken out of the France team for the 2010 World Cup and did not play for France for nearly five years. He then rejoined the team until announcing his retirement from international competition on December 19, 2022.
He has received four French Player of the Year awards from France Football.
Benzema won the Ballon d’Or and the UEFA Player of the Year for his efforts in 2021 and 2022, making him the fifth French player to do so.
He is the second-oldest recipient of the prize, standing at 34 years and 302 days.
Missing the 2022 World Cup
In an 8-0 victory against Kazakhstan on November 13, 2021, Benzema scored his first goals in the 2022 World Cup qualifying matches to secure France’s spot in Qatar.
With his brace, he passed David Trezeguet to move up to seventh place among all scorers for the Les Bleus with 35 goals.
Benzema was named to France’s final FIFA World Cup roster, but on November 19, the French Football Federation announced that Benzema would be unable to compete because of a thigh injury.
Benzema confirmed his departure from the national squad on December 19, 2022.
How good is Karim Benzema?
One of the best forwards of his time, Benzema is well renowned for both his finishing and playmaking.
He has been referred to as a “immensely talented striker” who is “strong and powerful” and “a potent finisher from inside the box” with either foot, as well as with his head, despite being naturally right footed. He is also a prolific forward who is creative, skillful, quick, agile, and good in the air.
His Real Madrid boss, Ancelotti, called him “the best striker in the world” in 2021, making him one of the top strikers of his generation.
An unconventional number 9, Benzema can play in a variety of other offensive positions and has been used as a playmaker behind the main striker, either in the number 10 role as an attacking midfielder or as a deep-lying forward. He is typically deployed as a center forward but can also play as an out-and-out striker.
- UEFA European Under-17 Championship: 2004
- UEFA Nations League: 2020–21
- FIFA World Cup runner-up: 2022
- 2005 UEFA–CAF Meridian Cup top scorer
- Best French Player playing Abroad: 2019, 2021, 2022