Frustrated Karim Benzema tells France bosses by E-MAIL he won't be attending special tribute ceremony at Stade de France
- Real Madrid star did not figure at Qatar 2022
- Quit international football after that tournament
- Will not attend Euro 2024 qualifier against the Netherlands
WHAT HAPPENED? The 35-year-old frontman, who is the current owner of the prestigious Ballon d’Or, announced in December that he was stepping away from the French fold in the wake of 2022 World Cup frustrations. Benzema was initially ruled out of that tournament through injury, but returned to fitness in time to figure in the knockout stages.
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THE BIGGER PICTURE: Didier Deschamps opted against drafting the experienced forward back into his plans, with Les Bleus going on to lose a thrilling final showdown with Argentina. Benzema went on to say in a social media post: “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.”
AND WHAT'S MORE: Hugo Lloris and Raphael Varane – World Cup winners from 2018 – have also announced their respective retirements from international football. France are eager to honour them at Stade de France ahead of a Euro 2024 qualification opener against the Netherlands on Friday, but L’Equipe reports that Benzema has sent an email in which he explained that “he was not available” to attend.
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WHAT NEXT? Benzema rejected an offer from French president Emmanuel Macron to take his private jet to the 2022 World Cup final in Qatar, with bridges being burned in that camp, and he brings an eventful international career to a close with 37 goals recorded through 97 appearances.