ARSENE WENGER has called for France to end their six-year exile of Karim Benzema following his alleged role in a plot to blackmail Mathieu Valbuena.
The Real Madrid star, 33, hasn’t played for the reigning world champions since 2015.
Karim Benzema deserves a recall to the France set-up as his exile is not football-related, according to Arsene WengerCredit: Reuters
Arsene Wenger believes Karim Benzema should be allowed to play for France at Euro 2020Credit: beIN Sports
Benzema is alleged to have been involved in a plan to blackmail Valbuena over an X-rated video on his mobile phone.
The Los Blancos striker is claimed to have acted as a middle-man for a friend by convincing Valbuena to deal with the blackmailers himself – with the now-Olympiacos man, 36, instead going to police.
Benzema’s lawyer, Sylvain Cormier, maintained the striker’s innocence in 2015, saying: “He played no part, I repeat no part, in any blackmail or attempted blackmail.”
The forward will go on trial in October – but Arsenal legend and fellow Frenchman Wenger insists Benzema should be allowed to play at Euro 2020 as his exile is for non-footballing reasons.
Wenger told EFE: “The non-call up of Benzema is not dependent on the quality of the player.
“For me, Benzema deserves 100 per cent to be called up for the European Championship… He could play for any national team.
“It is because of an extra and non-sport problem that he is not playing.
“He has been playing for Real Madrid for more than ten years as a starter, and his record is excellent.”
Benzema is alleged to have been involved in a plot to blackmail ex-France team-mate Mathieu Valbuena over an X-rated video on his mobile phoneCredit: AFP – Getty
In 2015, Valbuena suggested Benzema was involved in the plot to blackmail him over an X-rated video.
Valbuena told his version of events to Le Monde: “[Benzema] wasn’t aggressive and he didn’t speak me to firmly, directly about money, but when you insist that I meet someone… hmmm.
“Personally I’ve never known of anyone willing to destroy a video for free just because they love me.
“You can’t take people for idiots”.
Benzema earned 81 caps for France before his 2015 exile, scoring 27 times following his 2007 debut.
And he has maintained his elite form throughout his career, now well into his 30s.
This season alone, Benzema has been the main man for Real Madrid, scoring 28 games in 41 games in all competitions.
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