- Benzema retires from France duty
- Left World Cup early due to injury
- Absent as France lost final on penalties
WHAT HAPPENED? Having been selected for Didier Deschamps' World Cup squad and heading to Qatar with the national team, injury derailed the 2022 Ballon d'Or winner's tournament before it had even gotten underway. Benzema left the World Cup prematurely and had to watch on from the side as Les Bleus made it to the final against Argentina, but lost on penalties. He's since taken to social media to seemingly confirm his international retirement.
WHAT THEY SAID: "I made the effort and the mistakes it took to be where I am today and I'm proud of it! I have written my story and ours is ending," the post read.
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Benzema has endured a tumultuous relationship with the French national team under Deschamps. He made his senior debut in 2007 and represented France regularly at major tournaments, before being snubbed from Euro 2016 and the 2018 World Cup. But following a near six-year absence - amid a blackmail case involving teammate Mathieu Valbuena - he returned to the national team in 2021.
However, that chapter appears to have now closed for good, seeing Benzema retire with 97 caps and 37 goals for Les Bleus. It had been suggested that the forward would recover from his injury in time for the final, but he did not rejoin the squad.
WHAT NEXT FOR BENZEMA? Having had the majority of the World Cup to recover from an injury, the 35-year-old's sole focus will now be on getting his 2022/23 campaign with Real Madrid back on track after a difficult, injury-ridden start.