There are many stories to be told about the recently concluded World Cup in Qatar. There were political shenanigans by several countries. There was also the performance of the lowly-ranked teams. One should not forget some atrocious referee calls that left a sour taste in the mouth.
It seems the Qatar 2022 World Cup will be in our memories for the drama it produced rather than for the football. Some of it included the top players that missed out on the tournament. Some players absent from the World Cup includes N’Golo Kanté, Paul Pogba, Erling Haaland and Karim Benzema.
Speaking of players, while some missed the tournament, others have perhaps played their last game for their countries. There are still clouds over the future of a few internationals. Luka Modric (Croatia), Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal), Lionel Messi (Argentina) and Karim Benzema (France) may have played their last World Cup.
Benzema to retire from international football
As Les Bleus prepared for the Qatar 2022 World Cup, they had several injuries. The defending champions were the favourites to win the tournament but saw their chances fizzle following several injuries. Some of the players injured included Paul Pogba, Ngolo Kante, Christopher Nkunku and Karim Benzema. It dimmed the odds of France retaining the trophy they won in 2018.
One player the world wanted to see again in the colours of Les Bleus was Karim Benzema. The 34-year-old just concluded a stellar season with Real Madrid and won the Ballon d’Or. He was selected for the World Cup by Didier Deschamps, but injury struck, ensuring the world would miss the brilliance of the Real Madrid captain.
Leaving the World Cup prematurely was a massive blow for Benzema and France. He was on the sidelines as Les Bleus romped to the final to lose to Argentina on penalties. In a recent post, Benzema suggests his time with Les Bleus is over.
He posted on social media that he made the efforts and the mistakes it took to be where he is today. He continued it makes him proud. He concluded that his story is written and is ending.
A tumultuous Les Bleus career
It has not been all rosy for Benzema, especially with Les Bleus. The Frenchman endured a tumultuous relationship with the French national team under Didier Deschamps.
The former Lyon striker made his debut for Les Bleus in 2007 and was a regular feature for France at major tournaments. However, Benzema did not make the cut for Euro 2016 and the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.
After nearly six years away from the national team, which saw Benzema in a blackmail case involving teammate Mathieu Valbuena, he was back in the national team in 2021.
Benzema helped France win the UEFA Nations League and looked forward to helping Les Bleus win the World Cup. Following his social media post, it seems the dream is over, and Benzema is about to retire with 97 caps and 37 goals for Les Bleus.