Karim Benzema sets football world alight with incredible claims about France exclusion
Exiled striker Karim Benzema has sensationally claimed that France national team boss Didier Deschamps left him out of his Euro 2016 squad due to political pressure that may have been fuelled by racism.
In an explosive interview with Marca, the striker who helped Real Madrid lift the Champions League title with a penalty shoot-out win against Atletico Madrid in Milan last weekend has hit out at a decision that he claims is unjust following his involvement in a blackmail case involving former team-mate Mathieu Valbuena.
Benzema, who comes from Algerian descent, was suspended by the French federation in December after he was caught up in a scandal involving a sex tape, with his punishment ensuring he would not be considered for selection in the Deschamps squad for this summer's Euro 2016 finals in France.
Now Benzema has hit out at that decision, accusing Valbuena of lying about the incident and also chastising the men behind his exclusion from national team duty.
"He has bowed to the pressure of a racist part of France and a extremist party reached the second round in the last two elections.
Therefore, we don't know whether it is a decision only for Didier," stated Benzema, in comments that are being reported as a swipe at France's socialist Prime Minister Manuel Valls, who has been an outspoken critic of the Real Madrid star and his involvement in this legal case.
"At judicial level I have not been judged. I am not guilty, so I would like to play with my team.
"In life you must not be spiteful and in difficult times like this and learn from mistakes. I am now calm, centered. In sporting terms I had a place in the team after have been invented a few stories, but it’s hard, of course, to accept it.
"This is one of the biggest disappointments I've had, no doubt, but hey, you have to get back up, and I want to get as far as possible in my career."
Benzema also hit out at Valbuena, as he suggested the Lyon midfielder had not been honest about his side of the blackmail scandal.
"In this story, he is the only person who knows what happened," he added. "The person who knows the truth is Valbuena. He has not told the truth because everything comes from there I wanted to help, nothing else."
Benzema has always insisted he merely got involved in this story in a bid to help Valbuena, yet that plea of innocence has not been enough to keep his Euro 2016 dream alive.
Now he has hit back in a manner that appears to end his hopes of a recall to the French side, with this interview in Marca certain to send shockwaves through France as they prepare to start the Euro 2016 finals in the opening Group A game against Romania on June 10.