Karim Benzema returns to the French national team five years after his last call-up. The Real Madrid forward entered the list of 26 players that Didier Deschamps offered this Tuesday for the European Championship to be held between June 11 and July 11.
The crisis between the coach and the Real Madrid striker began at the end of 2015, when a criminal gang blackmailed Mathieu Valbuena by threatening to spread a video with sexual content if he did not pay 150,000 euros. The former Marseille player, who at that time frequented the national team, not only refused to pay but also accused Benzema of complicity with those who extorted him. Valbuena declared before the judge that his teammate knew the criminals and had served as an intermediary, inciting him to pay the ransom. The Versailles prosecutor’s office, in charge of investigating the case, did not hesitate: they accused Benzema of “complicity in an attempt to blackmail”. After a long investigation, last January the judge decided to hold the oral trial in October.
Guilty or innocent, the incident marked the reputation of the white attacker. After Deschamps stopped calling Benzema, the player accused him in 2016 of having “yielded to pressure from a racist sector of France” by agreeing not to include him in the call for Euro 2016.