Benzema hits out at continued French exile

Real coach Zidane called for Benzema’s four-year France exile, caused by his alleged part in an attempt to blackmail Mathieu Valbuena, to end this week.

Benzema has not played for France since 2015.   -  AP

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane had made the case for striker Karim Benzema to return to the France national team based on form.

Benzema has been exiled, caused by his alleged part in an attempt to blackmail Mathieu Valbuena, for over four years by the French team.

Since the start of last season, the 31-year-old has 41 goals and 13 assists in 68 matches for his club. He has scored 9 goals in 11 La Liga appearances for Madrid already this season.

Benzema has told French Football Federation president Noel Le Graet he and he alone will decide when the time to end his international retirement will come.

Le Graet told French radio that Benzema’s adventure with the French team was finished.

“Noel, I thought you didn’t interfere with the decisions of the France coach,” said Benzema on Twitter.

“Please understand that I and I alone will call an end to my international career.” Benzema, who is of Algerian origin, added that Le Graet should “let me play for one of the countries for which I’m eligible” if he thinks the 31-year-old is done.

Benzema has not played for France since 2015, when he was placed under formal investigation over the blackmail attempt.

Coach Didier Deschamps has maintained Benzema’s omission is in the best interests of the French squad, who won last year’s World Cup without him.

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