Real Madrid footballer Karim Benzema has blasted France coach Didier Deschamps saying he bowed to the racist part of France by not selecting him for EURO 2016.
Benzema has told Spanish daily Marca that Deschamps “bowed to pressure from a racist French party” in electing not to select him, referencing the recent electoral success of France’s far-right National Front.
“He has bowed to the pressure of a racist part of France,” Benzema told Marca . “He has to know that in France the extremist party reached the second round in the last two elections. I do not know, therefore, whether it is a decision only for Didier because I’ve gotten along with him, with the president (of the French Football Federation, Noel Le Graet) and everyone.”
“They said I cannot be selected, fine. But on a sporting level, I don’t understand why,” added Benzema. “At the judicial level, I have not been judged. I am not guilty, so we have to wait to see what the justice says.
“I like football and to play with my team. The only person who knows what happened in this affair, who knows the truth, is Valbuena,” continued Benzema. He played a role, he has not told the truth. I wanted to help him, nothing more, and the whole thing blew up in my face.”
French football Fans had thought Benzema won’t be selected for EURO 2016 because of the role he played in a sex tape scandal with France teammate Valbuena but Valbuena wasn’t even selected for France’s Euro 2016 squad leading notable football personalities like Eric Cantona to blast the coaches’ decision.
“Benzema is a great player. Ben Arfa is a great player,” Cantona told the Guardian. “But Deschamps, he has a really French name. Maybe he is the only one in France to have a truly French name. Nobody in his family mixed with anybody, you know. Like the Mormons in America.
“So I’m not surprised he used the situation of Benzema not to take him. Especially after Valls said he should not play for France. And Ben Arfa is maybe the best player in France today. But they have some origins. I am allowed to think about that.”
Asked if he was really suggesting that Deschamps who he also described as “a muppet” – had been guilty of discriminating against the pair, Cantona added:
“Maybe no, but maybe yes. Why not? One thing is for sure – Benzema and Ben Arfa are two of the best players in France and will not play the European Championship. And for sure, Benzema and Ben Arfa, their origins are north African. So, the debate is open.”