France head coach Didier Deschamps has looked to draw a line under his controversial relationship with Karim Benzema.
Deschamps opted to recall the Real Madrid captain ahead of Euro 2020, following years of omitting the veteran striker from Les Bleus duty, in a shock call.
Benzema was initially selected for the 2022 World Cup squad by Deschamps, as France aimed to defend their world title in Qatar.
However, Benzema was removed from the squad after suffering a pre-tournament injury, in a blow to Deschamps’ plans in the Middle East.
Despite speculation over Benzema being able to rejoin the squad, Deschamps declined the chance to bring him back into the fold, as France lost out to Argentina in the final.
Benzema was angered by the call, and announced his retirement from international football at the end of 2022, with Deschamps looking to the future now.
“I’m not interested in the controversy, it belongs to the past for me”, as per an interview with Telefoot.
"Je ne suis pas dans la polémique, (…) cela appartient au passé pour moi."
Didier Deschamps sur le départ de Benzema lors du Mondial 2022 @SaberDesfa pic.twitter.com/aYc8bN5DUn
— Téléfoot (@telefoot_TF1) March 19, 2023
France kick off their Euro 2024 qualification campaign with matches against the Netherlands and the Republic of Ireland this month.