Zidane hopes Benzema avoids France suspension


French football legend Zinedine Zidane hopes compatriot Karim Benzema is not suspended from representing his country due to his alleged participation in a blackmail case involving international teammate Mathieu Valbuena over a sex-tape.

The president of the French Football Federation Noel Le Graet is expected to make an announcement on Benzema’s international future on Thursday, just two days before the draw for next year’s European Championships which France will host.

“We will wait to see what he (Le Graet) says next Thursday,” Zidane said after coaching Real Madrid’s reserve side Castilla to a 1-0 win over Portugalete on Sunday.

“I hope for the French team and for the player, it (a suspension) is not the decision that is taken.

“A player like Benzema is an important player for the team, he can bring so much to the team and I only watch the sporting aspect.

“I hope we will look at that aspect and his personal affair will settle quickly, which is the most important thing. In sporting terms, to cope without a player like that can be complicated.”

Real Madrid star Benzema was not called up for last month’s friendly matches against Germany and England, officially due to injury.

However, the games came just after he was charged with complicity to blackmail and conspiring to commit a criminal act in relation to the sex tape and told that he was not allowed to contact Valbuena.

Benzema claimed in an interview with French television station TF1 on Sunday that he still has the support of France coach Didier Deschamps

“I have had a message from him. He supports me, of course,” said Benzema.

“There are also players in the national team who support me.”

On the field Benzema was back to his best on Saturday as he scored for the first time since the scandal began with two goals in Madrid’s 4-1 win over Getafe.