Karim Benzema will not be selected by France for the upcoming 2016 European Championships.
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He has been suspended indefinitely since December when he was charged with conspiracy to blackmail regarding an extortion scam over an alleged sex tape involving his fellow French national team mate Mathieu Valbuena.
The Real Madrid forward, 28, took to Twitter to announce the news on Wednesday, with the French Football Federation (FFF) confirming the news shortly after.
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It is believed the manager of the French national team, Didier Deschamps, called Benzema directly to tell him the news. Benzema hasn’t played for the national team since last November and now Les Bleus will be without their main striker for the tournament on home soil this summer.
In truth, we could see this coming but Benzema confirmed the news after Deschamps and the president of the FFF, Noel Le Graet, were due to met to discuss the matter on Wednesday.
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“Unfortunately for me and for all of those who have always supported me, I am not selected for our Euro in France…” Benzema wrote.
FFF released the following statement shortly after.
“The President of the Federation and the coach would recall that athletic performance is an important but not exclusive criterion for deciding the selection in the France team football. The ability of players to work towards unity, in and around the group, and exemplary preservation group are also taken into account by all the Federation.
“As a result, Noel Le Graet and Didier Deschamps decided that Karim Benzema will not participate in Euro 2016.”
Why has this decision arrived now?
The judge investigating the case had lifted a legal restriction which prevented Benzema from contacting Lyon’s Valbuena. With that lifted Benzema could, in theory, have been called up France, but Deschamps and the FFF have decided the must go on without Benzema.
This has to be one of the most bizarre situations for a manager to have dealt with ever.