Karim Benzema will not be selected by France for Euro 2016

Karim Benzema France

The Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema will not be selected for France’s Euro 2016 campaign, the country’s football federation (FFF) has confirmed.

Benzema pleaded his case for a recall to the national side by posting a video on Facebook, but was told by the FFF on Wednesday that he will play no part in this summer’s tournament.

The Real Madrid frontman has not played for his country since being questioned by police in November in connection to an alleged blackmail attempt against France team-mate Mathieu Valbuena, over a sex tape reportedly showing Valbuena and his partner. Concerns over Benzema’s reintegration into the squad have led to the decision to rule out a recall.

A statement on the FFF website read: “[The head coach] Didier Deschamps and [president] Noël Le Graët met to discuss the situation of Mr Benzema. The president of the federation and the coach would agree that athletic performance is an important but not exclusive criterion for selecting the France national team.

“The ability of players to work towards unity, in and around the group, are also taken into account. As a result, Noël Le Graët and Didier Deschamps decided that Karim Benzema will not participate in Euro 2016.”

Benzema posted on Twitter: “Unfortunately for me and for all those who have always supported me. I am not selected for our Euro in France ...”

The Real striker was suspended from the national side after being investigated in connection with an alleged attempt to blackmail Valbuena. The case concerns an alleged attempt by one of his friends to extort money from Valbuena over a sex tape. He told investigators he approached Valbuena about the tape on behalf of “a childhood friend” but claims he did not think he was doing anything wrong.

His lawyer has insisted he was not party to any blackmail attempt. “He played no part, I repeat no part, in any blackmail or attempted blackmail,” Sylvain Cormier, Benzema’s lawyer, said earlier this year.

Benzema was left out of the France squad for the friendlies against Holland and Russia in March having last played for Les Bleus against Armenia in October. A restriction ordering the 28-year-old not to have any contact with Valbuena was lifted before the players were chosen.

The Lyon midfielder was also left out although that was less surprising, his form having dipped this season.

France’s sports minister, Patrick Kanner, had suggested it was too soon to recall the 81-cap striker insisting “human values must be taken into consideration”.

The prime minister, Manuel Valls, echoed that call at the time by telling Radio Monte Carlo: “The conditions for Karim Benzema to return to the France team have not been met at the moment.”

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010

 

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