France striker Karim Benzema has confirmed he will not represent the host nation France at this summer’s Euro 2016 finals.
The Real Madrid striker has been suspended from the national team since last November due to his role in the ongoing balckmail case involving French team-mate Mathieu Valbuena.
Benzema is being investigated over an alleged attempt by one of his friends to extort money from a fellow international, Mathieu Valbuena, over a sex tape. He told investigators he approached Valbuena about the tape on behalf of “a childhood friend” but claims he did not realise he was doing anything wrong.
Benzema had asked the French Football Federation (FFF) to delay making a decision which came six months before Euro 2016 takes place in France. The player was formally put under investigation on 5 November for “complicity in a blackmail attempt” and being part of a “criminal group”.
Benzema had originally been banned from contacting his international team-mate, but last month a judge lifted those restrictions, meaning in theory, he could play alongside Valbuena.
However, it appears as if the FFF, which had been due to make a public announcement about Benzema’s participation at the finals later today, have informed the striker that he will not be selected.
France coach Didier Deschamps has previously stated that he would be happy to include Benzema back into the squad, depending on the circumstances.
“As of today, he is still not available so I cannot select him,” Deschamps said in February. “It would need my president to decide (he can play) and for the law to give a positive answer as well.
Benzema announced he had not been selected via his official Twitter page.
Malheureusement pour moi et pour tous ceux qui m'ont toujours soutenu et supporté. Je ne serai pas sélectionné pour notre Euro en France…
— Karim Benzema (@Benzema) April 13, 2016