Karim Benzema declines invitation to retirement ceremony by email after bust-up with France boss
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Recently retired French players will be honored before France's match at the Stade de France tonight, but Karim Benzema won't be there.
A host of French stars retired from international football after France were defeated by Argentina in the World Cup Final last year, including Hugo Lloris, Raphael Varane and Benzema.
Benzema missed the tournament through injury, denying him the chance of personal redemption after missing France's 2018 World Cup triumph.
Benzema's career with the national team was a strange one; after featuring at Euro 2008, Euro 2012 and the 2014 World Cup, he was excluded from the set-up between 2015 and 2021 as part of the fallout from a blackmailing scandal involving fellow French player Mathieu Valbuena.
In 2021 Benzema was brought back in from the cold and scored four goals as France reached the last-16 of the delayed Euro 2020. A few months later he scored twice as France won the UEFA Nations League.
He would have surely led the French attack in Qatar alongside Kylian Mbappe had he not sustained a thigh injury during France's first training session in Qatar.
On December 19th Benzema announced his retirement from international football, but he won't be joining Lloris and Varane on Friday evening.
According to L'Equipe (via Get French Football News), Benzema declined his invitation to the ceremony by email, explaining that he was not available.
However, the rocky relationship between the 35-year-old striker and France coach Didier Deschamps is said to have played a part in his decision.
The Real Madrid star was reportedly furious that Deschamps sent him home from Qatar, despite his injury only requiring minor treatment.
Benzema reportedly turned down an offer from French president Emanuel Macron to fly back to Qatar for the World Cup final in his private jet.
When he announced his retirement on Instagram, Benzema 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."
Featured Image Credit: PA/Alamy
Topics: Karim Benzema, France, Football World Cup, Didier Deschamps, Hugo Lloris, Raphael Varane