FFF sympathises with Benzema

FFF President Noel Le Graet has sympathised with Karim Benzema’s “tough” upbringing after the Real Madrid striker’s suspension from international duty.

Benzema’s France career has been put on hiatus until he clears his name in the Mathieu Valbuena blackmail case, but Le Graet insisted the decision was made with a heavy heart.

“The French Football Federation can’t control what is said in the street or by the Press,” he told reporters.

“In this case are two lads for whom I have great affection. The first, Valbuena, is an exceptional player.

“Who can say that this player has failed Les Bleus? He is an exceptional player, the victim in this case, and has the FFF’s full support.

“The second, Benzema, is also a good man who grew up in a tough neighbourhood and did not change his childhood friends.

“His friends have not evolved much, despite him now being a star.

“He’s a high-profile person, who earns his living very well, but also someone who doesn’t have the extraordinary powers of communication.

“He can play football and is a smart player. He’s a starter at Real Madrid, something not many players can boast.

“I watched his recent games for Madrid and he was both perfect and flawless. Punishment is not something I like, especially when the investigation remains open.

“I hope the judicial system are comprehensive and that this case will be accelerated so the two players can be summoned before the judge and bodies of the FFF, only this time the punishment will be final.

“[What could make Benzema available again] is that the judge clears him or he and Valbuena become friends again after speaking face-to-face.

“Until the judge decides that what has been levelled against Benzema is excessive, the FFF will not change its decision.

“It’s necessary that the judicial system authorises the two players to be together.

“At the moment, the case isn’t in Benzema’s favour and doesn’t allow him to be picked.

“If the judge, after the investigation, decides to clear him then the situation changes.”

Madrid also reiterated their support and confidence in the player, who scored a hat-trick in Tuesday’s 8-0 Champions League demolition of Malmo.

Tags FFF France Karim Benzema Mathieu Valbuena Noel Le Graet