Real Madrid striker, Karim Benzema has been named in France’s 26-man squad for this summer’s European Championship after an absence of nearly six years.
He has not played for his country since 2015 as a result of his alleged involvement in an attempted blackmail case involving an ex-France team-mate.
Recall that in November 2015, Karim Benzema was involved in a blackmail plot relating to an extortion scam over a sex tape.
He was alleged to have told Valbuena to transfer tens of thousands of euros to his childhood friend, Karim Zenati or have a sex tape of him and his girlfriend leaked on the internet.
However, Benzema denied any wrongdoing on his part, whereas Mathieu Valbuena claimed that the Real Madrid striker didn’t speak about the money directly but he told him to have a word with the childhood friend.
Eventually, Benzema and Valbuena were removed from the squad by manager Didier Deschamps, in return, the former accused the 98′ World Cup winner as racist on his actions taken against him.
It is understood that Benzema will go on trial from Wednesday, October 20 to Friday, October 22 this year. However, he is still confident of not doing any wrongdoing and four other people will also stand trial in the case.
Benzema missed France’s Euro 2016 campaign and 2018 World Cup win as a result of the allegations.
In January 2021 French prosecutors announced Benzema would face trial.
After confirming Benzema was in his Euro 2020 squad, France manager Didier Deschamps said: “The most important is today and tomorrow.
“There were important steps. We saw each other. We discussed at length. I had a long reflection to come to this decision. I won’t reveal a word of the discussion, that concerns us. I needed it, he needed it.”
Hugo Lloris and Moussa Sissoko of Tottenham Hotspur, Everton left-back Lucas Digne, Chelsea’s Kurt Zouma, Olivier Giroud and N’Golo Kante and Paul Pogba of Manchester United are all named in the France squad.
Benzema has scored 27 goals in 81 appearances for France, including netting twice in his last outing for the national team during a 4-0 friendly win over Armenia.
He has been one of Real Madrid’s standout players this season, scoring 29 goals, including 11 in 10 games and providing eight assists in all competitions.
Now in his 12th year at the Bernabeu, Benzema was recently voted the best French player playing abroad by France’s National Union of Professional Football Players.
The striker will add to Deschamps’ already impressive attacking options of Paris St-Germain’s Kylian Mbappe and Barcelona’s Antoine Griezmann when Euro 2020 starts on 11 June.
They begin their Euro 2020 campaign against Germany on 15 June.
Below is the confirmed France’s squad for Euro 2020
Goalkeepers: Hugo Lloris (Tottenham), Mike Maignan (Losc), Steve Mandanda (Marseille).
Defenders: Lucas Digne (Everton), Leo Dubois (Lyon), Lucas Hernandez (Bayern Munich), Presnel Kimpembe (PSG), Jules Kounde (Sevilla), Clement Lenglet (Barcelona), Benjamin Pavard (Bayern Munich), Raphael Varane (Real Madrid), Kurt Zouma (Chelsea).
Midfielders: N’Golo 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 (PSG), Marcus Thuram (Borussia Monchengladbach).