France to omit Benzema from squad against Holland, Russia friendlies

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Paris, March 17 (IANS) France forward Karim Benzema, involved in a plot to blackmail his team-mate Mathieu Valbuena with a sex tape, will not be called for the two upcoming international friendly matches, the French Football Federation (FFF) has announced.

France will play against Holland and Russia on March 25 and 29, respectively, reports Efe.

FFF president Noel Le Graet confirmed on Wednesday that Benzema will not be called up by the French team for the squad for the games against Holland and Russia later this month.

Reports earlier said Benzema could not play with the team until the accusations of complicity in the blackmail case are cleared.

Last Friday France lifted part of the judicial restrictions which prevented the player from establishing contact with Valbuena, and opened the way for him to eventually return to the national team.

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The FFF said that the ruling was “a first step” for a possible return of Benzema to the national team, especially with the upcoming European Championship in France, to be held from June 10 to July 10.

Coach Didier Deschamps does not want to rule out the top scorer of the French team, who netted 27 goals in 81 games with France and 19 goals in 20 Liga games with Spanish giants Real Madrid this season.

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