Karim Benzema won’t play for France again as long as Didier Deschamps is in charge according to Marca. Real Madrid have yielded eleven players for this international break, less than the 16 and 17 Los Blancos were averaging around the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and James Rodriguez have left for pastures new, while Marcelo and Isco have been dropped for sporting decline.
Regarding Benzema, the issue is personal. Since the court case involving Mathieu Valbuena in 2015 broke out he hasn’t worn the blue of France, and it’s something that’s often discussed in his home nation. Adil Rami, for instance, called on his recall after France’s 2-0 defeat to Finland last week, believing he’d be an excellent option alongside Antoine Griezmann, Kylian Mbappe and Olivier Giroud.
“It’s very frustrating not to have Benzema in this team to compete with Giroud,” Rami told Le Parisien. “We also need Giroud, but if there was a reconciliation with the coach it would be great to see Benzema in blue again. This history is stupid – if it’s necessary for Karim to apologise publicly or in front of the coach, he should do it. Think of Les Bleus!”
Deschamps hasn’t forgiven Benzema since the Madrid marksman gave an interview in Marca in June of 2016 where he claimed that the coach had been influenced by a racist sector of French society to not recall him. Winning the World Cup in 2018 eased the pressure on Deschamps to do so, but Benzema’s consistently – perhaps increasingly – excellent performances in LaLiga and the Champions League means the debate has never ended.
Unless Deschamps backtracks, Benzema isn’t said to be counting on a comeback, no matter how much he may want one. He never retired from international duty or made himself unavailable for inclusion, and he’s never been given a sporting reason for his continued exclusion. The striker has also maintained that he never called the coach a racist, and that he maintains the same view he held then now.
Benzema has six goals and three assists from eleven appearances for Los Blancos so far this season. Last year, he registered 27 goals and 11 assists in 48 games. With Ronaldo gone, the Frenchman has assumed Madrid’s chief goalscoring responsibility and he was a crucial element in their title win in 2019/20.
Featured image courtesy of Diario AS.