Karim Benzema returns to the France team. The Real Madrid striker, absent from the selection since 2015, is in Didier Deschamps’ list of 26 for the Euro this summer.
The rumor that roared was very true. Five years and seven months later, Karim Benzema is back in the France team. Just elected best French player playing abroad, the Real Madrid striker is in the list of 26 players selected this Tuesday by Didier Deschamps to play the Euro scheduled this summer from June 11 to July 11.
Karim Benzema, who has 81 capes and 27 national goals, has not worn the Blues jersey since October 8, 2015, in Nice. He scored twice at the Allianz Riviera, in a friendly match against Armenia. Then the scandal of sextape blackmail against Mathieu Valbuena broke out.
Indicted in this case, for which a trial is scheduled for October, the striker was deprived of Euro 2016 in France. While a return seemed possible at the time, his relationship with Didier Deschamps had finally deteriorated considerably during the continental tournament. At issue: an interview with the Spanish newspaper Marca, in which he said that the coach had “yielded to a racist part of France”. The case of the former Lyon striker had even worsened thereafter with mocking statements and interactions on social networks.
The best football of his career
Today, even if the France team has become world champion without him, this return is made with undeniable sporting legitimacy. At 33, Karim Benzema offers arguably the best football of his career. With 29 goals and 8 assists in 45 games this season, he is the backbone of Real Madrid coached by Zinedine Zidane. His performances allowed the Madrid team, yet dying in the game, to reach the semi-finals of the Champions League, but also to have a chance to retain the title of champion of Spain.
By force, the question of a return of Karim Benzema has kept coming back into the public debate in recent months. Zinedine Zidane, at a press conference, had publicly admitted “not understanding” that his protégé was not selected for the Euro. The incomprehension was identical within the Spanish press, which continues to praise the one who was essential during the last four coronations of Real Madrid in the Champions League.
This return sealed, Didier Deschamps must now think about the best way to integrate Karim Benzema in the starting XI, alongside Kylian Mbappé and Antoine Griezmann. With the line of sight, the first match of the Blues at the Euro: against Germany on June 15.