Costa Rica
Match 25
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Match 24
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Match 26
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12:00 PM UTC
Match 29
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South Korea
6:00 PM UTC
Match 28
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3:00 PM UTC
Match 27
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Karim Benzema on contract renewal: I want to retire at Real Madrid

Karim Benzema expressed his optimism for ending his international exile and returning to the France national team.

Karim Benzema has said he wants to retire as a Real Madrid player after winning more titles with the Spanish giants.

On Thursday, Benzema put pen to paper on a two-year contract extension with Los Blancos, keeping him at the club until June 2021.

It includes a release clause of €1 billion, and Benzema will be past his 33rd birthday by the time the contract expires.

"This renewal represents many things for me. I'm delighted to continue my career at the best club in the world," he told a news conference on Thursday.

"I'm very proud of my career here, and I will continue to work in order to win more titles.

"I know that, right now, I'm among the great players of Real Madrid, but I have to continue.

"There is no better place than this one. I want to retire here because there is no other club like this. This club will be my last, I think."

Benzema joined Real from Lyon for €35m in 2009 and has won 14 trophies, including three Champions Leagues and two La Liga titles.

He is the eighth most prolific goal scorer in Madrid's history, with 181 strikes in 371 games.

"A striker is not just goals," he said. "You have to take part in the play, open spaces, create assists. Here, the level of demand is maximum.

"I know what it is like, I know that there is a lot of criticism when you are at this club. This is because people expect a lot from me. Each day I work harder to be at my best for this club."

Benzema, who is currently recovering from a hamstring injury, hopes to have a strong season for Real and return to the France team.

The 29-year-old has not played for France since October 2015 after initially being suspended by the French Football Federation (FFF) because of his reported involvement in the alleged extortion case of France teammate Mathieu Valbuena.

He has not given up hope of playing for Les Bleus again, saying: "I'm a competitor and I like it when I'm called up to the national team.

"When my teammates go to their respective national teams and I stay, it's tough. I always think I will return. You can never give up. But it's not an obsession."

Adriana Garcia is a Valencia-based football writer who covers La Liga for ESPN FC.


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