Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema has confirmed that he will not be a part of the French squad for Euro 2016 because of his alleged involvement in the Mathieu Valbuena sex-tape scandal.

 

Benzema is alleged to have played the role of a middleman in the blackmail of France teammate Valbuena over a sex-tape of the Lyon midfielder, with the case currently ongoing in the courts. The Real Madrid star has been charged with being complicit in Valbuena’s blackmail and has not been included in any of Didier Deschamps’ recent France squads.

However, Benzema’s lawyer has maintained that the 28-year-old is innocent, saying, “He played no part, I repeat no part, in any blackmail or attempted blackmail.”

Although the Real Madrid star has not yet been proven guilty, he has been banned from representing the national side until his name is cleared. Benzema took to Twitter to confirm that he will not play a part in the 2016 European Championship in France.

“Unfortunately for me and for all those who have always supported me, I will not be selected for our Euro in France.”

Benzema also rued the fact that he will be missing a tournament as big as the Euros in his home country.

“I let them do what they should do and [decide] what’s best. If I did not want [the Euros], a long time ago I would have had a press conference and I would have said I did not want to come in the France team,” Benzema was quoted saying to Le Monde. “The France team means a lot to me, especially a Euros at home.”

Will France really miss Benzema at the Euros?

Although he is undoubtedly one of the best strikers the country has at the moment, France coach Didier Deschamps has a range of options to choose from in the Real Madrid star’s absence.

The most obvious option Deschamps has is Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud, who has scored 20 goals for Arsenal so for in all competitions this season. Giroud is a centre-forward in the most traditional sense and is a menace in the air. As France have good wingers, Giroud could be used as an effective targetman.

UEFA EURO 2016 Draw in Paris

Another option is Manchester United forward Anthony Martial. The 20-year-old has scored just eight goals so far in the current Premier League campaign, but has been played more as a winger than as a striker by manager Louis van Gaal. If Deschamps wants more pace up front, Martial could be a very good option.

A more accomplished striker will be Atletico Madrid forward Antoine Griezmann, who has already scored 20 goals in the current La Liga campaign. Most recently, he helped Atletico reach the semi finals of the Champions League with a brilliant brace against Barcelona.

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