Euro 2021: Karim Benzema, bulky guest of Didier Deschamps



The rumor of Karim Benzema’s return to blue will have swelled all day. First suggested then confirmed by The team, taken up by specialized football sites, it spread in the afternoon of Tuesday, May 18. Before being very probably formalized live on TF1 and M6, the two French channels sharing the retransmission of the Euro (June 11-July 11).

It would therefore be true, the coach registered on his list of 26 selected players a name that was believed to be erased forever, that of Karim Benzema. The thread between the blue jersey and the Madrilenian was loosened in 2015. At issue, the so-called intimate video case (sextape), in which the player was accused of having played the intermediary between his teammate in the team of France Mathieu Valbuena and the blackmailers who threatened it.

Heard, then indicted and finally returned (in January 2021) to the criminal court, the player was suspended as a precaution by the President of the Federation, before being deprived of selection for Euro 2016 taking place in France . The link had broken, definitively, we thought at the time, when the player had declared in an interview that Didier Deschamps had “Yielded under the pressure of a racist part of France”. A formula that the coach had not supported, whose house had been tagged with the word “Racist”.

The support of Zidane and the president of the FFF

But Didier Deschamps ended up passing the sponge, in a posture which is not so foreign to him. This is not the first time that he has gone back on a decision in the name of the collective interest. Since his arrival at the head of the Blues in 2012, he has thus extended his hand several times to players removed from the lists. After André-Pierre Gignac and Hatem Ben Arfa, the latest is Adrien Rabiot, reinstated in the French team after being self-excluded in 2018, by refusing the invitation as a simple reserve for the World Cup. At the time, the president of the Federation, Noël Le Graët, declared that “No one can be punished for life”, quote that everyone had interpreted at the time as a possible reduction of sentence for Rabiot as for Benzema.

In the same vein, the direct boss of Karim Benzema in Madrid, his trainer Zinédine Zidane, had reaffirmed his support at the end of March. “Karim is a p… player. When you love football, you love Karim. It is obligatory. I do not understand this (that it is not selected) and a lot of people don’t understand that ”. Raphaël Varane, Madrid defender and vice-captain of the France team also spoke of his teammate, diplomatically: “He’s one of the best strikers in the world (…) Karim is playing his best football, very elegant, very important for Real. But it’s not my role to interfere between Zinédine Zidane and Didier Deschamps.

The shape of his life

Didier Deschamps have he yielded to a form of pressure? It would be bad to know the entire character of the Basque, protected by his results as a finalist of a Euro and winner of a World Cup. If he selected the Madrilenian it is because he saw that the former Lyonnais, in whom he had kept confidence in 2013 despite a year without a goal in blue, is in the form of his life. He has also just been elected by the UNFP (National Union of Professional Footballers) as the best French player playing abroad. Symbolic decision, and undoubtedly well informed, when we know that almost all the holders in blue evolve outside France.

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Scorer, one of the very best in Europe with 29 achievements in a Spanish championship with formidable defenses, he is also a formidable passer (eight assists in La Liga this season), able to put wisps into orbit in all positions like Kylian Mbappé or Antoine Griezmann. From a sporting point of view, the choice of Deschamps is therefore indisputable, but it is likely that he will be extensively commented on outside the confines of the stadium. Developing under the French banner a player, admittedly presumed innocent, but with loads heavy enough on his shoulders to be sent back to correctional, is not trivial. His trial date has been set for October 20, 2021.

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