Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema was arrested by the French police for allegedly blackmailing fellow Frenchman Mathieu Valbuena over a sex tape. The 27-year-old was placed under formal investigation on Thursday, but Real Madrid have given their backing to the striker, releasing a statement in support of the player.

Benzema could face a punishment of five years in prison, if found guilty of his alleged crimes. After staying at the police station all night for questioning, Benzema was released until further investigations and the Frenchman returned to Spain to train with Real Madrid.

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Madrid back Benzema

According to reports from Skysports, Benzema held talks with club president Florentine Perez and the club released a formal statement in support of the star player.

The statement read: “The Real Madrid C.F president, Florentino Perez, held a meeting with the player in which he gave him his full support and expressed his confidence that his actions were in good faith and that he is completely innocent.

“The club values and recognises the professional commitment, the displays of camaraderie with his team-mates and the impeccable attitude he has shown as a core member of the first team squad for the more than six seasons that he has been a part of Real Madrid.”

Karim Benzema’s lawyer has also claimed that the Frenchman is innocent, and offered Valbuena a bit of friendly “judicious advice”, saying what was said had nothing to do with blackmail. Benzema, currently facing an injury, could miss Sunday’s La Liga encounter unless he proves his fitness.