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Karim Benzema is reportedly set for a sensational return to the France squad six years after being dropped for his alleged role in a sex tape scandal.
The Real Madrid striker is suspected of encouraging then teammate Mathieu Valbuena into paying blackmailers after they threatened to release intimate footage of him.
Benzema is set to face trial in October, and denies any wrongdoing.
The incident made headlines in 2015, and the 33-year-old has been frozen out by national team boss Didier Deschamps ever since.
Then-French Prime Minister Manuel Valls called for the frontman to be dropped, and in 2019 France Football president Noel le Graet said that Benzema would never play for the national team again.
Responding on his Twitter account, the former Lyon forward said: “If you think I'm done, let me play with one of the other countries I am eligible for and we'll see.”
However, Benzema never changed nationality, and now it would appear that Deschamps has had a change of heart leading into Euro 2020 this summer.
According to reports in France, Benzema is back in the national team coach’s plans.
Journalist Julien Laurens wrote: “It’s now confirmed by different sources: Karim Benzema will be in France’s squad for the Euros this summer.
“More than five years after his last cap, Deschamps will call him back.”
While the France boss has rarely wavered from his trusted combination of Antoine Griezmann, Kylian Mbappe and Olivier Giroud, the Chelsea man’s lack of gametime may be the cause for Deschamps’ search for alternatives.
Benzema has been in fine form for Los Blancos in recent years, and this season’s has produced his second-best league return since his arrival at the Bernabeu.
The striker hasn’t appeared at a major tournament for Les Blues since the team’s defeat at the hands of eventual winners Germany at the 2014 World Cup, and earned the last of his 81 caps against Armenia, where he scored his 26th and 27th goals for the national team.
Perhaps Benzema will be the final ingredient for France to claim their first European Championship since 2000.
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- Antoine Griezmann
- Kylian Mbappe
- Euro 2020
- Real Madrid FC
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