Benzema ‘won’t give up on France’

Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema insists he will not give up on a France recall but admits “I won’t return for as long as Didier Deschamps is Coach.”

Benzema has not appeared for France since scoring a brace against Armenia in October 2015, the striker having found himself entangled in a scandal that saw him allegedly attempt to blackmail international teammate Mathieu Valbuena over a sex tape.

“As long as Deschamps is Coach, I won’t return to the national team,” he told Telefoot.

“Of course, I believe I will. Of course I believe! But it’s been more than two years and you don’t have to be very smart…

“It’s not a question of him calling me up or not. I talked to him on the phone before the Euros and he didn’t give me any explanation.

“He’s someone I respect and he showed me a lot of respect before, but now he’s turned his back on me. It hurts, but when he wants to, we’ll meet.

“Valbuena case behind my exile? It could be… Of course, there was this story, which is away from football, but you have to set it aside from football.

“Everyone was involved in this story to some extent, but without knowing anything. Was there any pressure on Deschamps? Possibly. Lots of politicians got involved…

“Could I go to the World Cup? It’s complicated, I’m not stupid. Of course I want to.

“I’m football-crazy, I love these competitions and this pressure with your country is something else.

“I want to win something with my country, I still believe I can and I still believe things can change in the future.

“Problems with teammates? I have no issue with any French player. There are some that I cross paths with sometimes, and it’s good to see them.

“Everyone got involved [in the Valbuena case]. I'm not a troublemaker, that’s not what I am.”

Tags Didier Deschamps France Karim Benzema