France coach, Didier Deschamps has recalled Karim Benzema in his Euro 2020 squad despite the striker facing trial for alleged sex-tape blackmail.
Benzema, who has scored 29 goals in all competitions for Real Madrid this season, has not played for Les Bleus since 2015 over alleged sex-tape blackmail of former team-mate Mathieu Valbuena.
The Real Madrid striker is accused of pressuring Valbuena in 2015 to pay blackmailers who threatened to reveal an intimate video in which Valbuena featured. The scandal led to his ban from the France national team since November 2015.
The French man will stand trial from October 20 to 22 on the charge of complicity in attempted blackmail.
But the 33-year-old, who has 27 goals in 81 games for France, is included in the 26-man squad alongside fellow forwards Antoine Griezmann, Kylian Mbappe, Kingsley Coman, Olivier Giroud, Ousmane Dembele, Wissam Ben Yedder, and Marcus Thuram.
Shortly after the squad was revealed, Karim Benzema wrote on Twitter: “I am so proud to return to the French national team & for the faith being placed in me. Thanks to my family, my friends, my club, to you… and all those who have always supported me & given me strength daily.”
Tellement fier de ce retour en équipe de France et de la confiance que l’on m’accorde. Merci à ma famille, mes amis, mon club, à vous… et à tous ceux qui m’ont toujours soutenu et me donnent de la force au quotidien 🙏🏼 #AllezLesBleus #Euro2021 #Blessed #AlHamdullilah pic.twitter.com/b8PJj1BATm
— Karim Benzema (@Benzema) May 18, 2021
Euro 2020, which has been delayed by a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, starts on June 11. France are in Group F with Germany, Hungary and Portugal.
See France squad for Euro 2020 below.
Goalkeepers: Hugo Lloris (Tottenham); Mike Maignan (Lille); Steve Mandanda (Marseille)
Defenders: Lucas Digne (Everton); Leo Dubois (Lyon); Lucas Hernandez (Bayern Munich); Presnel Kimpembe (Paris Sain- Germain); Jules Kounde (Sevilla); Clement Lenglet (Barcelona); Benjamin Pavard (Bayern Munich); Raphael Varane (Real Madrid); Kurt Zouma (Chelsea)
Midfielders: Ngolo 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 (Paris Saint-Germain); Marcus Thuram (Borussia Munchengladbach)
By Kingsley U.