Some 82% of French feel that Karim Benzema should no longer play for his country after being charged in the sex-tape blackmail case, according to a poll published on Thursday.

The survey for media outlet RMC/BFMTV asked: “Do you believe Karim Benzema can continue to be called up for the French national team?”

In total, 50% answered “no, not at all”, while 32% responded “no, not really”, giving a total of 82 percent who were against seeing the Real Madrid striker back in the blue of the Euro 2016 hosts.

Of the 924 people aged 18 and over who were polled, only 18% responded favourably, with only 4% saying he “absolutely” should be recalled by coach Didier Deschamps.

Later Benzema’s club president spoke out in his favour.

“Karim should benefit like all of us on the fundamental right of innocent until proven guilty,” said Florentino Perez.

“He doesn’t deserve to be found guilty before being judged.”

Benzema, 27, has been charged with complicity to blackmail and conspiring to commit a criminal act for his alleged participation in a blackmail case involving international teammate Mathieu Valbuena over a sex-tape.

The charges carry a maximum five years prison sentence.

The poll was conducted before an interview with Benzema was broadcast by TF1 on Wednesday, in which he claimed he was being “persecuted” and stated his hope that he will be able to return to the France squad ahead of Euro 2016.

Neither Benzema nor Lyon midfielder Valbuena were named in the France squad to play Germany and England last month.


Les Bleus next play in March, in friendlies against the Netherlands and Russia.