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FRANCE SQUAD

Deschamps defends Benzema omission: "It's for the good of the team"

France coach Didier Deschamps refused to bow to media pressure to reintroduce Karim Benzema back into the fold following the Valbuena sextape scandal

Deschamps defends Benzema omission: "It's for the good of the team"
FRANCK FIFE AFP

Didier Deschamps has responded to critics over his decision to leave Karim Benzema out of the France squad. Prior to the team announcement on Thursday, the French media had clamoured for the return of the Real Madrid striker to the national team for the games against Bulgaria and Holland after the France coach controversially omitted him from his Euro 2016 camp this summer.

“Give Benzema another chance”

France Football, for instance, led with the headline “Give Benzema another chance” and published a survey showing that fans were divided over the matter (50% of readers voting for his return, and 50% voting for him to remain out).

Deschamps though did not bow to any media or fan pressure and told his press conference on Thursday, “I take decisions which I consider to be for the good of the national team.”

Benzema and Valbuena

Sextape scandal 

Benzema’s omission from the latest France squad follows Deschamps’ decision to leave the forward out of the European Championships in June owing to the forward’s involvement in a sextape scandal involving Mathieu Valbuena. Benzema is accused of blackmailing his France teammate over the video.

Benzema has already attended a hearing at a French court, which is set to give its verdict on 14 October as to whether the 28-year old is implicated in the case.

One of the extortionists that has already confessed to being involved in the crime, Mustapha Zouaoui, recently told the newspaper L 'Equipe that Benzema is innocent and is just a collateral victim of the scam.