Karim Benzema turned 35 today, and upon his birthday took the time to announce that he is retiring from the French national team. An injury kept the Real Madrid striker out of the FIFA World Cup in Qatar, but he did get back on the training pitch just prior to the final but head coach Didier Deschamps wisely decided not to make an emergency call up prior to the final match.
Benzema had a rather strange career with France, nonetheless the striker managed to score 37 goals in 97 matches. His best output was in 2021 where Benzema scored 9 goals in 13 matches, that year Benzema and France would win the UEFA Nations League.
Benzema would only win one title with France but has had a storied club career where he has scored 329 goals in 617 games for Real Madrid, where he is considered one of the greatest strikers of the Spanish giant’s history.
Karim Benzema’s France national team career
Benzema’s final goal for France was a 1-2 defeat to Denmark in the 2022/23 UEFA Nations League, prior to that Benzema had to deal with a six-year hiatus from the national team due to a blackmailing scandal that almost derailed his extraordinary career.
On 4 November 2015, Benzema was arrested along with various other persons of interest for allegedly partaking in the blackmailing of fellow France international player Mathieu Valbuena over a private sex-tape recorded on a mobile phone. This resulted in his omission from the 2016 Euros and 2018 World Cup squads.
As time went on Benzema was reinstated to the French national team but not without being found guilty in November 2021 for his involvement in blackmailing Valbuena. Benzema was given a one year suspended sentence and fined 75,000 euros.
Considered one of the best strikers of his generation Benzema has scored 410 club goals in 785 matches for two clubs, Lyon and Real Madrid where he has won 30 championships combined.