May 19 – Karim Benzema’s exile from the French national team over a sex-tape scandal is at an end. In a surprise move Didier Deschamps has recalled the Madrid striker for Les Bleus’ Euro 2020 squad.
Benzema is due to go on trial this year for his alleged involvement in an attempt to blackmail his former France teammate Matthieu Valbuena, the reason the French coach has consistently omitted the striker from his squad. The striker will stand trial on the charge of conspiracy to attempt blackmail, the prosecutor’s office said.
On the eve of this summer’s European Championship Deschamps however no longer deemed it imperative to ban the player from his squad and the marksman, who has been in splendid form at his club Real Madrid. Benzema will be a valuable asset for the team, but the French squad has no shortage of world class strikers with Antoine Griezmann, Kylian Mbappé, Kingsley Coman, Olivier Giroud, Ousmane Dembélé, Wissam Ben Yedder and Marcus Thuram among the 26 players seeking to win France a third European Championship.
Benzema, 33, has been out of the national team since November 2015 because of the scandal. He didn’t play for France at Euro 2016 when the hosts reached the final but fell to Portugal and, two years later, he didn’t feature in France’s World Cup triumph in Russia.
Benzema has scored 29 goals in all competitions this season and was Real Madrid’s standout player in their Champions League campaign. He has also been pivotal in Madrid’s La Liga challenge. They trail rivals Atlético Madrid by two points going into the final league game this weekend.
At Euro 2020, France will play Germany, Portugal and Hungary in the group of death. They kick off their finals against Germany in Munich. On Wednesday, Germany’s embattled coach Joachim Low will name his squad for Euro 2020 and it is expected that he will recall some players from the old guard as well.
France’s squad for Euro 2020 in full:
Goalkeepers: Hugo Lloris (Tottenham Hotspur); Mike Maignan (Lille); Steve Mandanda (Olympique de Marseille)
Defenders: Lucas Digne (Everton); Léo Dubois (Olympique Lyonnais); Lucas Hernandez (Bayern Munich); Presnel Kimpembe (Paris St Germain); Jules Koundé (Sevilla); Clément Lenglet (Barcelona); Benjamin Pavard (Bayern Munich); Raphaël Varane (Real Madrid); Kurt Zouma (Chelsea)
Midfielders: N’Golo Kanté (Chelsea); Thomas Lemar (Atletico Madrid); Paul Pogba (Manchester United); Adrien Rabiot (Juventus); Moussa Sissoko (Tottenham Hotspur); Corentin Tolisso (Bayern Munich)
Forwards: Wissam Ben Yedder (Monaco); Karim Benzema (Real Madrid); Kingsley Coman (Bayern Munich); Ousmane Dembélé (Barcelona); Olivier Giroud (Chelsea); Antoine Griezmann (Barcelona); Kylian Mbappé (Paris St Germain); Marcus Thuram (Borussia Mönchengladbach)
Contact the writer of this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1634329918labto1634329918ofdlr1634329918owedi1634329918sni@o1634329918fni1634329918