‘You know where I am’ Benzema tells Deschamps

Karim Benzema, pictured in March 2018, has not played for his country since October 2015 after being charged in connection with an alleged blackmail of his French teammate Mathieu Valbuena
AFP

Madrid (AFP) – Karim Benzema will not make any attempt to persuade Didier Deschamps to take him to the World Cup, the Real Madrid star telling the France coach: “If you need me, you know where I am”. 

Benzema has not played for his country since October 2015 after being charged in connection with an alleged blackmail of his French teammate Mathieu Valbuena. 

Deschamps admitted in August last year that his motivation in ignoring the 30-year-old was maintaining squad harmony while France have other options up front in Antoine Griezmann, Kylian Mbappe, Olivier Giroud, Anthony Martial and Ousmane Dembele. 

Benzema, however, has been a regular at Real Madrid under Zinedine Zidane this season and, on ability alone, would almost certainly make the squad in Russia this summer. 

“I am 30 years old, I have two children, I am calm here, if you need me, you know where I am,” Benzema said in an interview published on Tuesday by the Spanish edition of Vanity Fair. 

Asked what he would do to convince Deschamps to call him up to the France squad, Benzema said: “Me? Now? Nothing.” 

He added: “I have not talked to the coach for a long time and without saying a word, it’s very difficult.” 

The Valbuena case caused a media storm in France and led to the then-prime minister Manuel Valls insisting that “a great athlete must be exemplary”. 

“When a prime minister talks about you, it’s not football anymore,” Benzema said. “I think football and politics shouldn´t mix and in my case it’s a political issue.”

Benzema also explained why he does not sing the Marseillaise, the French national anthem, before games. “If you listen properly, La Marseillaise calls for war,” Benzema said. “I do not like that.” 

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