Didier Deschamps wants to put an end to the public quarrel with Karim Benzema that has not subsided since the World Cup.
France head coach Deschamps lost Benzema from his Qatar 2022 squad ahead of the tournament when the Ballon d’Or winner and Real Madrid captain suffered a hip injury.
According to Deschamps, Benzema said he would not be able to return to the French camp to take part in the final stages of the tournament.
As it turned out, Benzema returned to training with Madrid in early December and this led to speculation that he could make a dramatic return to the Blues as they pursued a successful defense of the trophy.
This did not happen as Benzema was absent as France lost on penalties to Argentina in the final on 18 December.
Deschamps told Le Parisien this month that he spoke to Benzema after the striker had an MRI following an injured strike and the then 34-year-old announced his World Cup hopes were over.
According to Deschamps, the coach told Benzema that he did not need to rush to leave, but he left early the next day.
“When I wake up, I know he’s gone,” Deschamps said in a newspaper interview. “This is his decision, otherwise he will not tell you, I understand and respect him.”
Benzema, who announced his international retirement the day after the World Cup final as well as his 35th birthday, was quick to try to refute Deschamps’ version of events.
He responded with a series of posts on his Instagram stories, posting a clown emoji along with the comment, “How cheeky.”
In another post, he posted “Sacred Didier” along with a video of a well-known French social media personality repeatedly accusing someone of being a “liar”.
Speaking on Sunday’s TF1 Telefoot show, Deschamps refused to continue the saga.
Deschamps said: “I am not involved in controversy. I needed to say what happened. But for me, that’s in the past.”
Benzema was due to play for Real Madrid against Barcelona in Sunday’s La Liga Clásico at the Camp Nou and will then be on hiatus while international matches play over the next two weeks.
On Sunday, RMC Sport said Benzema would play no role as France celebrate a series of international retirements on Friday when Les Blues host the Netherlands in a Euro 2024 qualifier.
Those whose careers at Les Bleus are expected to be celebrated include Hugo Lloris, Raphael Varane and Steve Mandanda.
Meanwhile, France lost two players to play against the Netherlands and travel to the match against the Republic of Ireland the following Monday, while Arsenal’s William Saliba and Chelsea’s Wesley Fofana were sidelined by injury.
Monaco’s Axel Disasi and Nice’s Jean-Clair Todibo were called in as replacements.