FOOTBALL

Benzema's France recall came out of the blue for Valbuena: "Did Deschamps call me? No"

Karim Benzema is set to play for France at Euro 2020, having been exiled from the national team since allegations emerged in late 2015.

0
Benzema's France recall came out of the blue for Valbuena: 'Did Deschamps call me? No'

Mathieu Valbuena says he was not consulted by France boss Didier Deschamps over Karim Benzema's surprise recall to Les Bleus' squad.

Real Madrid striker Benzema is due to stand trial in October regarding an allegation of complicity in the attempted blackmail of former France team-mate Valbuena over a sex tape.

The 33-year-old Benzema strenuously denies putting pressure on Valbuena to pay the alleged blackmailers, who were said to be threatening to release a video featuring the former Marseille and Lyon player.

Benzema named in France's Euro 2020 squad, ending long absence from international fold

After the claims of blackmail emerged in late 2015, Benzema was dropped from the France squad and looked to have no future with his national side, at least until his case was heard in court.

However, an unexpected recall came on Tuesday when Benzema was selected for France's Euro 2020 squad, and he looks set for a key role in the team during that tournament.

Valbuena told RMC Sport: "Did the coach call me? No, and I don't expect anything from anyone. When you're at the top, everyone is talking about you; when you disappear a little from the radars, you expect nothing from anyone.

"I make my life, I enjoy myself on the pitch. I expect nothing from Didier or anyone else. If you want to know if he called me, I say no."

Now with Greek club Olympiacos, Valbuena, 36, also last played for France in 2015.

Valbuena understands Deschamps decision to recall Benzema

The 52-cap midfielder said he understood why Benzema was being brought back into Deschamps' squad. "If he can bring more to the France team, so much the better for the Blues," Valbuena said.

"It will play out on the pitch. For me, Didier Deschamps comes out the winner in all cases. If the France team works, we will say that he had to adapt despite a difficult context.

"If France performs less, we will not blame him. That's what he knows how to do well, he knows how to make his squads. In attack, he has no guarantees, he made his choices. I think he will come out a winner either way."

Benzema scored a brace in a friendly against Armenia on his last appearance for France in October 2015.

His form for Real Madrid has often been exceptional in the years since, landing him three Champions Leagues and two LaLiga titles during his absence from the France squad.