UEFA Euro 2020: Karim Benzema returns to France squad after six-year absence amid blackmail trial

Euro 2020: Real Madrid star Karim Benzema, who suffered a knock in the Euro 2020 warmup game against Bugaria looks likely to compete
Euro 2020: Real Madrid star Karim Benzema, who suffered a knock in the Euro 2020 warmup game against Bugaria looks likely to compete

UEFA Euro 2020: Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema has been recalled for France national team after a six-year absence as coach Didier Deschamps announced the squad for UEFA Euro 2020 schooled to kick off on June 11. Benzema, who has been in fine form for Real Madrid, was unofficially banned from France national team due to a blackmail scandal over a sex tape. A hearing on the trial is scheduled for later this year.

Karim Benzema last played for France in 2015 against Portugal. But he was omitted from the squad after French midfielder Mathieu Valbuena accused him of blackmailing him over a sex tape. Karim Benzema now faces a trial which is scheduled for later this year.

 

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UEFA Euro 2020: Following the incident, Karim Benzema responded angrily to his Euro 2016 omission, criticizing Didier Deschamps indirectly and selectors saying they had “bowed to the pressure of a racist part of France.”

Also Read: UEFA Euro 2020: Big blow to Germany; Marc-Andre ter Stegen ruled out with knee injury

While Didier Deschamps had not picked Benzema since October 2015 and said he would “never forget” his comments, the France coach never stated that he would not call him up again. His terrific form, scoring 29 goals this season for Real Madrid was another reason that forced his hands to give him a recall. Benzema was named best French player in a foreign league by the French professional footballers’ union on Sunday.

“I will not reveal a word of the discussion, that concerns us both. I needed it, he needed it I have already been confronted with difficult situations, I have always ignored my personal case,” Didier Deschamps said on Benzema’s inclusion, confirming that he had a discussion with the player.

UEFA Euro 2020: FIFA World Cup champion France national team will begin its UEFA Euro 2020 campaign against Germany in Group F which also includes defending Euro champions Portugal besides Hungary.

Also Read: UEFA Euro 2020: Kevin De Bruyne, Lukaku named as Belgium announces 26-man Euro 2020 squad

The 33-year-old, who has 27 goals in 81 games for France, features in the 26-man squad alongside fellow forwards Antoine Griezmann, Kylian Mbappe, Kingsley Coman, Olivier Giroud, Ousmane Dembele, Wissam Ben Yedder and Marcus Thuram.

Euro 2020, which has been delayed by a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, starts on June 11. France are in Group F with Germany, Hungary and Portugal.

UEFA Euro 2020 France full squad:

Goalkeepers: Hugo Lloris (Tottenham); Mike Maignan (Lille); Steve Mandanda (Marseille)

Defenders: Lucas Digne (Everton); Leo Dubois (Lyon); Lucas Hernandez (Bayern Munich); Presnel Kimpembe (Paris Sain- Germain); Jules Kounde (Sevilla); Clement Lenglet (Barcelona); Benjamin Pavard (Bayern Munich); Raphael Varane (Real Madrid); Kurt Zouma (Chelsea)

UEFA Euro 2020 France full squad: Midfielders: Ngolo Kante (Chelsea); Thomas Lemar (Atletico Madrid); Paul Pogba (Manchester United); Adrien Rabiot (Juventus); Moussa Sissoko (Tottenham); Corentin Tolisso (Bayern Munich)

Forwards: Wissam Ben Yedder (Monaco); Karim Benzema (Real Madrid); Kingsley Coman (Bayern Munich); Ousmane Dembele (Barcelona); Olivier Giroud (Chelsea); Antoine Griezmann (Barcelona); Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain); Marcus Thuram (Borussia Munchengladbach)

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