13 Nov, 12:00
Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema has admitted that he does not expect to be called up to the France squad while Didier Deschamps remains in charge.
The 29-year-old has not featured at international level since being charged by police in relation to an alleged blackmail plot involving teammate Mathieu Valbuena two years ago. Benzema concedes that his exile from the Les Blues setup is likely to continue for the foreseeable future but, with a World Cup year fast approaching, the former Lyon star has called on Deschamps to only focus on matters that take place on the field.
-It could be [the sex tape scandal], of course. There were stories before, with the sex tape affair, and that could be it, but personally, what is outside sports should be left it out. Everybody has gotten involved and we have forgotten football. It's been two years that I've not been playing [for France]. I don't have any problem with the coach, but as long as he's here, I don't think I'll have a chance. It's not a matter of calling or not calling. I got him on the phone before the Euros and there was no explanation from him. He's someone I respect, but he showed me a lot of respect before and then turned his back on me - it's hurtful. It's complicated for me to be at the World Cup. Of course, I want to, don't be silly. I'm a football lover and I like that pressure. I have no problems with any player in the France team. There are some that I come across and it's always good to see them. I'm not a disrupter, but I have an image that is not good externally [away from the team], he said.
Benzema has struggled for form at club level this term, scoring just once in nine La Liga and Champions League appearances.