It has been more than two years since Karim Benzema’s last France appearance and he does not expect a recall from Didier Deschamps.
16 min ago
Karim Benzema does not think he has a chance of ending his France exile as long as Didier Deschamps remains coach.
The Real Madrid striker has not represented France since he was charged by police in 2015 in connection to an alleged blackmail attempt targeting Mathieu Valbuena with a sex tape, a case which is yet to go to trial.
In July, the Court of Cassation – France’s court of final appeals in civil and criminal proceedings – ruled in Benzema’s favour.
Defence for Benzema argued that police acted dishonestly as an undercover officer posed as a friend of Valbuena’s while negotiating with the blackmailers, who are alleged to have approached a friend of Benzema’s, which prompted the striker to discuss the matter with Valbuena while on international duty.
Benzema’s defence argued that the officer played an “active role” in pushing the parties towards a deal and that no crime would have taken place if he had not.
Benzema missed Euro 2016 on home soil last year as a result of his continued exile and he appears unlikely to earn a recall with les Bleus in time for the 2018 World Cup.
And the former Lyon striker does not foresee his situation with France changing in the near future.
“It could be that [the sex tape scandal], of course,” Benzema told Canal+. “There were stories before, with the sex tape affair, and that could be it, but personally, what is outside sports should be left it out.
“Everybody has gotten involved and we have forgotten football. It’s been two years that I’ve not been playing [for France].
“I don’t have any problem with the coach, but as long as he’s here, I don’t think I’ll have a chance.
“It’s not a matter of calling or not calling. I got him on the phone before the Euros and there was no explanation from him.
“He’s someone I respect, but he showed me a lot of respect before and then turned his back on me – it’s hurtful.
“It’s complicated for me to be at the World Cup. Of course, I want to, don’t be silly. I’m a football lover and I like that pressure.
“I have no problems with any player in the France team. There are some that I come across and it’s always good to see them.
“I’m not a disrupter, but I have an image that is not good externally [away from the team].”
Benzema’s extended absence means he is yet to play alongside the prodigiously talented Kylian Mbappe, something he wishes had happened at Real Madrid this season.
“He impresses because he is young,” Benzema said of the Paris Saint-Germain striker. “I don’t need to see what he does with France, only what he does in the Champions League.
“He has a lot of confidence and when he touches the ball, something happens every time. He could have come to Real, and that would have been good.”
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