France shouldn’t ban Benzema over sex tape scandal: Zidane

Madrid, Dec 7 (IANS) Football legend Zinedine Zidane has France’s star striker Karim Benzema shouldn’t be removed from the national squad due to his involvement in a sex tape scandal also involving team-mate Mathieu Valbuena.

The Real Madrid forward is facing charges of conspiracy to blackmail and the French Football Federation (FFF) have called a press conference on Thursday at which president Noel Le Graet is scheduled to address “all current issues” relating to the case.

Reports say that a decision will be taken to temporarily exclude Benzema from international duty pending the outcome of the ongoing investigation.

Zidane, France’s hero in their 1998 World Cup win, is hoping Benzema is allowed to continue representing the Les Bleus, as he wants his country to have the best possible chance of winning next year’s European Championship on home soil.

“We have to wait until Thursday. But the best thing for France and the player is for him to avoid a suspension. We’re talking about a really important player for our team and I’m only focused on the sporting side of things,” Zidane was quoted as saying by on Sunday.

“I expect that he can solve his personal problems. He really wanted to play this game, do well, and score goals. Doing well on the pitch will help him to deal with other things,” he said.

Benzema, who netted twice in Madrid’s 4-1 win over Getafe in La Liga on Saturday, has already expressed his desire to remain a part of Didier Deschamps’ squad.

“My goal is to play in France’s team. It always has been and I do not want to stop. I’m not afraid of not playing at Euro 2016 because there are too many things in life to be afraid of. I dream because it is the Euro, a great competition and it is in France,” Benzema was quoted as saying by French television programmeTelefoot on Sunday.

“I had a message from Didier Deschamps. I often talk to him and he supports me. My family and other players support me,” the striker said.

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