- Karim Benzema should not expect to be called up according to Noel Le Graet
- He was accused of allegedly blackmailing Mathieu Valbuena over a sex tape
- However, Benzema was cleared by the Court of Cassation in July
- The Real Madrid striker hasn’t featured for the national team since October 2015
- However, the FFP chief says a return for the 29-year-old would be ‘difficult’
Karim Benzema’s hopes of playing for France again have dwindled after being ruled out by French Football Federation (FFF) president Noel Le Graet.
The Real Madrid striker has been out of international action for over two years after being accused of allegedly blackmailing compatriot Mathieu Valbuena over a sex tape.
Benzema received a boost in July and spoke about his desire to return to the national team after the Court of Cassation – the country’s court of final appeals in civil and criminal proceedings – ruled in the striker’s favour over the Valbeuna case.
Karim Benzema should not expect to be called up to international duty says Noel Le Graet
The French Football Federation (FFF) president says a return for Benzema would be ‘difficult’
Benzema’s last appearance came in an friendly against Armenia in October 2015 where he scored two goals and assisted another but the 29-year-old is unlikely to be selected for the upcoming World Cup according to Le Graet.
‘You would have to be blind or deaf to not understand that Benzema will be difficult to select right now. It seems to be incontestable to me,’ the FFF chief told RMC.
‘We must also say that there are a number of talented players in attack, so the problem is perhaps less so than a few years ago.
‘[Didier] Deschamps picked him a lot during years when he was not brilliant in the French team.’
Benzema was accused of blackmailing Mathieu Valbuena before being cleared by court in July
France manager Didier Deschamps says it was ‘boring’ being asked about selecting Benzema
France manager Deschamps revealed it was ‘boring’ being asked about selecting the former Lyon man for France fixtures but 49-year-old will have Benzema available for selection for next year’s World Cup.
And with the 2018 finals just a few months away, the FFP chief has told Deschamps and the players that he expects a strong showing in Russia.
‘I told Didier and the players that we were in the quarter-finals in Brazil after a complicated period, we were in the final of Euro 2016, we must be in the final four,’ he said.
‘I trust Didier and I’m sure we’re going to have a good World Cup and the coach has to have all the power during it.’