Benzema had remarked that Didier Deschamps wasn’t picking him because he was being pressured by a racist sector of French society and that Benzema, as a man of Algerian heritage, wasn’t accepted in the same way a white man would be.
“Political pressure in the Benzema decision?” Hollande told L’Equipe in comments carried by Diario AS. Nobody put pressure on it. I told the members of the government they can have their point of view on the matter, but the only possible thing to do is allow the coach to make the decision.
“It’s Deschamps who chose other players and didn’t take Benzema for reasons that were purely sporting, it’s true. Benzema is a great footballer and you just have to see what he does at Real Madrid. But I won’t get into that story. The process hasn’t finished. I’ll only say that Benzema is a great footballer.”
The falling out between the two men is unfortunate as it negatively impacts both parties. Benzema has proven to be one of the most consistent goalscorers in European football, proving integral to Real Madrid last season by scoring 21 goals as they wrestled La Liga back from Barcelona.
Deschamps, meanwhile, has enjoyed great success with France, leading them to the final of Euro 2016 as well as winning the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Benzema would have loved to have partaken in such a moment, and France could have used him.