Karim Benzema demands answers from Didier Deschamps

Daniel Roberts
Karim Benzema: Wants explanation for France absence

A “disappointed” Karim Benzema has said he “has to know” the reasons behind his omission from the France squad.

The Les Bleus are currently preparing for games against Luxembourg and Spain, with the likes of Oliver Giroud, Kylian Mbappe and Ousmane Dembele all preferred ahead of Benzema.

In fact, the Real Madrid forward was last selected by French boss Didier Deschamps in October 2015. Although the absence was originally down to a suspension handed down by the French Football Federation for the alleged extortion of his French team-mate Mathieu Valbuena, the current lack of call ups has left Benzema perplexed.

Speaking about the situation, the 29-year-old has told RMC: “What I would like is to at least have a discussion with the coach, that he tells me what he thinks. I have to know.

“The last time I spoke to the coach on the phone, it was well before the Euro. He told me, ‘Karim, I’m going to tell you something you’re not going to like. I’m not going to pick you.’ At the time, I was very disappointed, I didn’t need explanations.

“We haven’t had contact since. But today, having taken a step back, I would like him to explain to me why he doesn’t pick me and why it continues. I ask myself that question every day.”

Benzema, who plays alongside some of the best footballers in the world at Real Madrid, admitted it was hard to watch his team-mates represent their countries as he remained at home.

“There are only internationals [at Real Madrid]. It’s hard too because I love football, big matches, and you know that the national team is a very high level.

“Each time I’ve been able to come and play with France, I was proud. So when I’m not on the list, I’m disappointed.

“Given what I’ve done at Madrid for eight years now, I think I’ve proven that I still had a lot of years ahead of me in the France team. It’s been a year-and-a-half that I’m not in it anymore.

“It’s hard for me. Some people say I don’t love the French national team. If that were the case, I would have said so directly to the coach, because I’m a big boy.

“But today I find it unfair because I don’t have an explanation, let them explain to me why they don’t pick me. I’m going to keep in my head that if they don’t pick me for the moment, it’s for football, it’s that there are players that are better than me. If we talk about things outside of sport, the story with Mathieu, I’m not guilty. I’ve paid, it’s been a year-and-a-half.”

Despite his two-year long omission from the squad, Benzema, who has scored eight times in 17 starts for Real this season, still holds the hope he will once again represent his country.

“Of course, for the moment, I haven’t ended my career. I’m young. There are still a lot of goals [to achieve]. I’m not going to give up. If people think I’m going to give up the French national team, they’re mistaken. I’m still here and I’m still hungry for trophies.”