Saturday 18 November 2017

French star confirms he won't be selected in Euro 2016 squad as alleged blackmail fallout continues

France's Karim Benzema
France's Karim Benzema
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

France's hopes of winning this summer's European Championship on home soil have been dealt a severe blow this afternoon after Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema confirmed that he won't be chosen in Didier Deschamps' squad for the tournament.

The prolific attacker - who has scored 25 goals in 28 club appearances this year - has been in international exile since last October after becoming embroiled in an alleged blackmail attempt involving French team-mate Mathieu Valbuena.

One of Benzema's friends reportedly tried to extort money from the Lyon midfielder over a sex tape. Benzema told investigators that he approached Valbeuna on behalf of this friend but the stirker's lawyers have strongly denied that he was party to any blackmail attempt.

Benzema was subsequently left out of the French squad for March friendlies against the Netherlands and Russia and after meeting with the French manager today, the Real Madrid star tweeted out the news of his impending omission.

"Unfortunately for me and for all those who have always supported me and supported. I will not be selected for our Euro in France," Benzema said on his Twitter feed.

Benzema has scored 27 international goals for France in 81 appearances but was particularly prominent at the last World Cup, where he scored three goals.

France are currently 7/2 joint favourites to win the tournament this summer.

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