Karim Benzema's international career appears to be categorically at its end, as president of the French Football Association Noel Le Graet announced that the Real Madrid striker's 'adventure with France is over'.
Benzema has been a key figure in Madrid's forward line over recent years, and his excellent start to the new season has reignited calls for the ex-Lyon man to make a dramatic return to the International fold.
FA president Le Graet has quashed all hope of a possible comeback for Benzema however, telling RMC Sport that the striker will not be selected again for France, despite acknowledging his undeniable talent, as reported by Marca.
"Karim Benzema is a great player, I have never questioned his quality. Moreover, at Real Madrid he is proving to be one of the best in his position.
"But his adventure with France is over."
Benzema has not featured for Les Blues since 2015, when he was arrested for his alleged role in the extortion and blackmailing of compatriot and teammate Mathieu Valbuena. The Madrid forward has been fighting to clear his name ever since, but he has continued to be frozen out of the France squad altogether.
The Frenchman responded to Le Graet's comments on Twitter, suggesting that the FA chief should not be 'interfering with the decisions of the coach'.
"Noel, I thought you were not interfering with the decisions of the coach! Know that it is me and me alone that will put an end to my international career.
"If you think I'm finished, let me play for one of the countries for which I'm eligible and we'll see."
Noël je croyais que vous n’interfériez pas dans les décisions du sélectionneur!Sachez que c’est moi et moi seul qui mettrait un terme à ma carrière internationale.— Karim Benzema (@Benzema) November 16, 2019
Si vous pensez que je suis terminé, laissez moi jouer pour un des pays pour lequel je suis éligible et nous verrons.
The French star has made a superb start to the 2019/20 campaign, bagging nine goals in 11 matches for los Merengues. The number nine has thrived in the absence of the departed Cristiano Ronaldo, who was sold to Juventus in 2018, and despite Madrid splashing huge transfer fees on the likes of Eintracht Frankfurt forward Luka Jovic, Benzema continues to play a key role for Zinedine Zidane's side.
France won the World Cup in 2018 without Benzema, and Didier Deschamps' men confirmed their place at Euro 2020 during the current round of international fixtures, topping their group ahead of second place Turkey, with only one game left to play.