France striker Karim Benzema announced his retirement from international football on Monday, a day after the national team lost the World Cup final against Argentina on penalties.
Benzema announced the decision on his 36th birthday. He wrote, “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.
Benzema, who is the reigning Ballon d’Or winner, was part of the French squad in Qatar before a thigh injury ruled him out of the World Cup.
He made his international debut in 2007 and has 37 goals from 97 appearances.
Benzema was out of the national team picture for five years after he was found complicit in blackmail in a sex-tape case that rocked French football.
The Versailles court gave Benzema a one-year suspended jail sentence and a fine of EUR 75,000 (USD 80,000) in last year’s trial, convicting him of involvement in an attempt to blackmail France team-mate Mathieu Valbuena in 2015. Benzema was also ordered to pay Valbuena EUR 80,000 in damages.
France coach Didier Deschamps recalled him in 2021 ahead of the European Championship, where he scored four goals in a Round-of-16 exit.