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Benzema’s France career is finished – FFF president

Noel Le Graet does not expect Benzema to return for Les Bleus given his long absence and dip in form.


Karim Benzema last played for France in 2015 (Anthony Devlin/PA)

Karim Benzema last played for France in 2015 (Anthony Devlin/PA)

Karim Benzema last played for France in 2015 (Anthony Devlin/PA)

Karim Benzema is unlikely to play for France again, according to French Football Federation president Noel Le Graet.

Real Madrid striker Benzema has not appeared for Les Bleus since 2015 following his involvement in the Mathieu Valbuena sex-tape affair.

Benzema, 30, missed France’s World Cup triumph at Russia 2018 and Le Graet said in an interview with French newspaper Ouest-France that he did not expect him to represent his country again.

“The Valbuena-Benzema affair had another episode last week, but it is still not over,” said Le Graet, referring to an ongoing court case which Benzema’s lawyers are trying to get dropped.

“It’s been three or four years. It should have been judged much faster and it is rotten for us.

“I have nothing against Karim, he has always behaved well in the (national) team.

“But I think he is finished with Les Bleus, particularly as he has been out of form for a while.”

Benzema, who has scored 27 goals in 81 appearances for France, is accused of playing a role in a plot to extort money from former France team-mate Valbuena over an alleged sex-tape showing the now Fenerbahce playmaker and his partner.

Benzema and his friend and co-defendant Karim Zenati had contested the legality of the investigation, claiming that some of their conversations had been illegally listened in to.

France’s highest judicial court, the Cour de Cassation, upheld Benzema’s appeal in July 2017 and the matter was referred back to the Paris Court of Appeal, whose findings have not yet been made public.

Now 30, Benzema has scored four goals for Real this season but has not found the net in his last five appearances. He scored only five league goals last term.