The End of Karim Benzema
Karim Benzema. A product of my famed Olympique Lyonnais academy moved on to Real Madrid after he was subject to intense transfer speculation for a fee of €39 million. A huge transfer fee and one that surely carried a huge amount of expectation. Karim’s 3rd season with Los Merengues was his most successful with the club to date but he has since struggled with injuries and has fallen down the pecking order. As well as losing his place at Real Madrid I evaluated his abilities and assessed the upcoming talent within the French squad from the u19s and had a decision to make.
Benzema has lost that yard of pace and his finishing has diminished. He finished with just 2 goals and just 9 games in the league. He has however, 87 caps for France and 39 goals – a decent return for an international striker. With Olivier Giroud, Yassine Benzia and Alexandre Lacazette ahead of Benzema there is nothing he can do at the moment except play sensationally to get in to the squad. I decided it was time to tell him that he has to step up to win a place in my squad from now on so I gave him a ring.
He picked up the phone and I let him know who it is. He seemed fairly surprised to hear me call and I carried on telling him that I have been thinking about my international selection policy and he has to perform well to get a place in the squad moving forward. I was completely taken aback by his reaction. He started shouting down the phone, telling me I had no right to make that call and he should be in the squad on reputation. There was no way I was taking this from him and I told him that he has no choice. He’s not getting in to my squad on reputation and I barked down the phone at him. I’m his manager and there is nothing he can do to change my mind, especially when he’s shouting at me.
He couldn’t take it. He decided there and then to announce his international retirement after hanging up on me and called his close friend and journalist. Later that hour the news was released in every newspaper and website. Karim Benzema has ended his international career at 28.