Why Benzema’s presence in Deschamps’ list for the Euro is a small revolution

The football world imagined these two men to be completely irreconcilable. However, the coach of the France team Didier Deschamps has chosen Karim Benzema as one of the 26 Blues selected for Euro 2021, which will be held from June 11 to July 11. A decision that sounds like a small revolution: nobody expected it. “L’Obs” explains why.

  • Back to the sextape affair, in 2015

Karim Benzema is suspected of having incited Mathieu Valbuena, his ex-teammate in the France team, to pay blackmailers who threatened to unveil an intimate video featuring him. In October 2015, in Clairefontaine, the training center of the France team, Karim Benzema would have explained that he could “Present someone you trust” to Mathieu Valbuena to help him ” to manage “ the possible publication of this compromising video.

Following these revelations, Didier Deschamps then decided not to select either Benzema or Valbuena for Euro 2016, “Precisely so that the group remains focused on the sporting aspect only”, he had declared to journalists of the “Parisien”.

Karim Benzema was sent back to correctional in January 2021 for “Attempted blackmail”, alongside four men prosecuted for the same facts. He will be tried from October 20 to 22, 2021 in Versailles, and faces up to five years’ imprisonment and a € 75,000 fine.

  • Conflicting reports since this affair

In June 2016, Karim Benzema was therefore not selected for the Euro, had declared in the media “Marca” that Didier Deschamps had “Yielded under the pressure of a racist part of France”, by not choosing it. A statement that caused a scandal, as much in the world of football as in that of politics. The coach’s house in Concarneau in Brittany was subsequently tagged with the word “racist”.

Didier Deschamps, by François Bégaudeau: “A national hero”

From then on, the two men seemed confused ad vitam aeternam. It is also without Benzema that the France team, led by Deschamps, won the World Cup in 2018. But the coach has obviously decided otherwise for 2021.

  • “Best French player abroad”

Last March, Zinédine Zidane, coach of Real Madrid, told “the Team”:

“When you love football, you love Karim. It is obligatory. “

Asked about the absence of Benzema in the France team, he admitted not to understand, as ” many people “.

With 29 goals this season for Real Madrid, including 22 in the Spanish league (Liga), the 33-year-old striker was crowned best French player abroad at the UNFP (National Union of Professional Footballers) trophies, Sunday, May 16. , according to “The Team”. He had previously been the winner of the trophy in 2019.

“Benzema, 4-star fight”: loneliness, doubts, ambitions … the player confides

Not so surprising then, according to “the Parisian”, that Deschamps recalled it:

“In his approach, [il] has never deviated from its line of conduct by constantly putting forward the notion of collective and the best interests of the France team. According to him, recalling Benzema is now opportune from a strict sporting point of view and does not present, in any way whatsoever, any risk for the balance and harmony of the France group. “

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