Benzema’s surprise summons must finally make its mark with France –

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Benzema’s surprise summons must finally make its mark with France – fr


PARIS (Reuters) – The recall of Karim Benzema to the France squad for the European Championship undoubtedly adds to the already impressive firepower of the world champions, although the Real Madrid forward has not yet made his mark with the national team.

While his 30 goals in all competitions for Real this season speak volumes, Benzema has rarely shone with the Blues in 81 games, notably scoring only two goals in two major competitions at Euro 2012 and the 2014 World Cup. He had scored 32 and 24 goals respectively for Real in those seasons.

He has matured since his last selection in October 2015, however, blossoming into a more clinical striker since Cristiano Ronaldo left Real Madrid for Juventus in 2018.

A place in the front row will have to be freed up for Benzema, Olivier Giroud being likely to give up his place, while coach Didier Deschamps will have to adapt his system.

He might be tempted to drop the 4-3-3 formation he used in the 2018 World Cup final for a more ambitious 4-2-3-1 with Kylian Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann and Kingsley Coman backing Benzema.

Such a change would put enormous pressure on Benzema to score goals, as only N’Golo Kante and Paul Pogba will feature in midfield to protect the defense.

“We’ll have to find a balance,” Deschamps said after he and Benzema put their differences aside.

Benzema has not played for the Blues since 2015. A blackmail scandal – for which he is to be tried in October – and his 2016 comment that Deschamps had “yielded to pressure from a racist part of France” in leaving the striker, a Muslim from Algeria the descent, out of the European Championship squad that year, was followed by a long exile from the squad.

He also courted controversy last year when he said of Giroud on Instagram: “You can’t compare karting and Formula 1, and I’m nice. “

Deschamps, however, said he weighed all parameters before including Benzema in the squad.

“He comes in a group that has a common history, in which the atmosphere, on and off the pitch, is good. It’s important, ”he explained.

“If I didn’t think he would fit in with the group, he wouldn’t be here. “

Once installed in the locker room, Benzema should shine on the pitch.

“Karim has had very good statistics with his club for a while. But I always knew what his level was. What he gives to his club, I expect him to give us too, ”said Deschamps.

“Having so many players at this level is a privilege, but it’s not a guarantee. “

(Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Toby Davis)



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