Benzema looking to move on from France exile ahead of Euros

Karim Benzema, who has scored 30 goals in all competitions for Real Madrid this season, has not played for France since 2015 after a blackmailing scandal over which he faces a trial in October.

Benzema has not played for Les Bleus since 2015.   -  REUTERS

Five years after an exile from the France national team, Karim Benzema said he is looking to put the past behind him. His only focus is on leading the line for Didier Deschamps' side at next month's European Championship.

Benzema, who has scored 30 goals in all competitions for Real Madrid this season, has not played for France since 2015 after a blackmailing scandal over which he faces a trial in October.

In 2016, Benzema had also said that Deschamps had "bowed to the pressure of a racist part of France" when leaving him out of the Euro squad that year.

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"What happened has happened. There are always regrets, we cannot turn back, we can just change from the past," Benzema, who has 27 goals in 81 games for France, told reporters on Sunday.

"The most important thing is what happens on the ground... Now I'm focused on the game and trying to show the best on the pitch."

Benzema will team up with 22-year-old Kylian Mbappe, who led France to the World Cup title in 2018, and the striker praised his younger teammate.

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"I do not like to compare, (Mbappe) is still a young player, a phenomenon," Benzema said.

"I have already been able to train with him. We play with one touch. He has good movement. He has a lot of speed and has skill in front of goal. He's a very, very good player."

France, which finished runner-up in 2016, is in Group F along with title holder Portugal, Hungary, and Germany. It plays its first match against Germany in Munich on June 15.

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