Sport Soccer

Thursday 23 November 2017

Benzema in for France

Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema has been recalled to the France squad for next week's friendly against Norway, despite facing charges that he solicited an underage prostitute, WRITES SAMUEL PETREQUIN.

Benzema, left out of the World Cup squad after an unimpressive season, received a call yesterday along with seven new players.

Bayern Munich winger Franck Ribery is also involved in the scandal and was left out by new France coach Laurent Blanc because he was among the 23 players who infamously went on strike during a World Cup training session. Those players are all suspended for Blanc's first game in charge in Norway on Wednesday.

Last month, a French judge issued preliminary charges against Ribery and Benzema as part of a probe into a suspected network of prostitutes operating out of a nightclub in Paris.

Some members of the French government said it would be better if the players were left out of the national squad during the investigation, but Blanc said Benzema's private life was none of his business.

"I thought it was important to give him a call because he can be part of the team's core in a near future," Blanc said. "It was my responsibility to take him even if he is not in the best physical and mental shape."

FRANCE (squad v Norway) -- N Douchez (Rennes), S Ruffier (Monaco), A Cissokho (Lyon), M Debuchy (Lille), R Fanni (Rennes), P Mexes (AS Roma), A Rami (Lille), M Sakho (Paris Saint-Germain), B Tremoulinas (Bordeaux), Y Cabaye (Lille), L Diarra (Real Madrid), B Matuidi (Saint-Etienne), Y Mvila (Rennes), C N'Zogbia (Wigan), S Nasri (Arsenal), M Sissoko (Toulouse), H Ben Arfa (Marseille), K Benzema (Real Madrid), J Briand (Lyon), G Hoarau (Paris Saint-Germain), J Menez (AS Roma), L Remy (Nice).

Irish Independent

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