Karim Benzema: ‘I want to win a trophy’ with France after ending exile
Karim Benzema said he can bring something extra to the France team after he was recalled to their provisional Euro 2020 squad following a controversial, six-year international exile.
A serial collector of trophies with club side Real Madrid, Benzema, 33, has been sidelined by Les Bleus since 2015 over his alleged role in a blackmail plot against a France teammate.
Exile saw him miss out on France reaching the Euro 2016 final on home soil and their World Cup triumph in Russia two years later under Didier Deschamps.
Following talks with Deschamps earlier this month, Benzema, who has 27 goals in 81 international appearances for Les Bleus, was recalled to the squad and aims to help them win more silverware.
“I want to win a trophy with the French team,” Benzema told L’Equipe.
Benzema top-scored for Real Madrid with 29 goals this term but could not help them retain their La Liga crown as they lost out to Atletico Madrid by two points. The former Lyon striker was last week named as this season’s best French foreign-based player by the country’s players’ association and his club coach, Zinedine Zidane, has described him as the greatest French striker of all time.
Benzema has repeatedly criticised Deschamps and the French Football Federation for being dropped, citing racism as a factor in his axing from the Euro 2016 squad. Benzema is a Muslim and the son of Algerian emigrants.
But he said those differences were in the past after his conversation with the coach.
“We said many things. Things that we needed to say for a long time. It was a good explanation, with important words,” Benzema said.
“I’m not coming to the French team to overshadow anyone or to take anyone’s place … I am here to bring what I know.”
France kick off their Euro 2020 campaign against three-time winners Germany in Munich on June 15, and also face Hungary and holders Portugal in Group F.