Karim Benzema finally spoke about his exclusion from the squad for the Euros, claiming France head-coach Didier Deschamps bowed to racial pressure and left the Real Madrid forward out of the squad.
An agitated Karim Benzema spoke his mind in an interview with Marca, suggesting the reason he was not picked for Euro 2016 was because Didier Deschamps succumbed to a racist French political party.
The Los Blancos number 9 was suspended in December due to his involvement in a sex tape scandal that shocked the entire nation. If the accusations claimed, are proven to be true, then Benzema would face up to five years in jail.
However, the French international is adamant that his exclusion and that of fellow countryman Hatem Ben Arfa, is solely due to their ethnicity. Benzema also lashed out at former team-mate Mathieu Valbuena, who was part of the slander, by stating that the claims made by him are one hundred percent false.
“In this story, he is the only one who knows what happened. The person who knows the truth is Valbuena. He has not told the truth because everything comes from there I wanted to help, nothing else.”
Deprived of the services of their go-to man in attack, it will be a steep hill to climb by Les Bleus if they are to win the Euros on their home turf. Olivier Giroud has endured a turbulent campaign and isn’t in the best form going into the mega-event, while Andre Pierre Gignac’s relative inexperience on the big stage may prove to be damning for the host nation. Antoine Griezmann is destined to lead the lines, but would have been relieved to see the Real Madrid striker play along side him.
Squawka compares the four strikers here:
Benzema echoes Eric Cantona’s claims
As reported in the Telegraph, Manchester United legend Eric Cantona claimed that Deschamps may have left out certain players due to their ethnicity. He also went on to criticize the French Prime Minister Manuel Valls. Disgruntled by the ways of Deschamps and the Board, the Old Trafford great stated he would be backing Roy Hodgson’s Three Lions in the tournament that commences on the 10th of June.
Irrespective of the reason for which Deschamps chose to drop Benzema, the French team is now short of a potent striker and the onus lies on Griezmann to take up the mantle for the country. Despite Giroud’s consistent goal scoring form for France, the fans have not warmed up to him, which can prove detrimental to the player’s confidence.
Although this is not the first time a French squad had major problems before or during a major tournament, Deschamps will be hoping it won’t distract them from the task at hand – winning the European championship at home.