Madrid (AFP) – Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema has told French Football Federation president Noel Le Graet he and he alone will decide when the time to end his international retirement has come.
After Real coach Zinedine Zidane called for Benzema’s four-year France exile, caused by his alleged part in an attempt to blackmail Mathieu Valbuena, to end this week, Le Graet told French radio Benzema’s adventure with the French team was finished.
“Noel, I thought you didn’t interfere with the decisions of the France coach,” said Benzema on Twitter.
“Please understand that I and I alone will call an end to my international career.”
Benzema, who is of Algerian origin, added that Le Graet should “let me play for one of the countries for which I’m eligible” if he thinks the 31-year-old is done.
Benzema has not played for France since 2015, when he was placed under formal investigation over the blackmail attempt.
Coach Didier Deschamps has maintained Benzema’s omission is in the best interests of the French squad, who won last year’s World Cup without him.
Benzema has scored 9 goals in 11 La Liga appearances for Madrid already this season.
“He has always wanted to play for France,” Zidane said this week.
“He is the best and I think he should definitely have a place in the national team. Football-wise, there is no debate.”
25+ Channels With Sports & News
- Starting price: $33/mo. for fubo Latino Package
- Watch Premier League, Liga MX, MLS & World Cup
- Includes ESPN, FOX, Univision, TUDN and more
Favorite Leagues At The Best Price
- Starting price: $7.99/mo. for Live TV Package
- Watch Argentine league, Brasileirāo and Copa Libertadores
- Includes beIN SPORTS, GolTV, TyC Sports and more
Many Sports & ESPN Originals
- Price: $6.99/mo. (or get ESPN+, Hulu & Disney+ for $13.99/mo.)
- Features LaLiga, Bundesliga, MLS, Copa del Rey & more
- Also includes daily ESPN FC news & highlights show
Live TV, Soccer & Originals
- Starting price: $4.99/mo.
- Features Champions League, Serie A, Europa League & more
- Includes CBS, Star Trek & CBS Sports HQ
175 Premier League Games & PL TV
- Starting price: $4.99/mo. for Peacock Premium
- Watch 175 exclusive EPL games per season
- Includes Premier League TV channel plus movies, TV shows & more
Get All 3 And Save 30%
- $13.99/mo. for ESPN+, Disney+ & Hulu
- Includes Bundesliga, LaLiga, NHL & the home to UFC
- Features Marvel, Star Wars + shows & movies for your entire family