Karim Benzema has admitted his exile from the France national team was “morally difficult” but is keen to draw a line in his contentious relationship with the team ahead of his return.
The 33-year-old striker had been sidelined by coach Deschamps since 2015 following his alleged role in the sex-tape blackmail of former France teammate Mathieu Valbuena.
But Benzema was called back to the French squad for this summer’s European Championships after good form for club Real Madrid, with the seasoned forward insisting he never gave up hope of play again for France.
Karim Benzema has spoken for the first time since his shock recall for the French team
The striker was chosen by Didier Deschamps (left) for this year’s European Championships
Benzema said at a press conference on Sunday: “I never stopped believing in it, I never gave up, otherwise I wouldn’t be here. I was very disappointed, it was morally hard.
“There were a lot of obstacles, it’s part of my career, I’ve always fought, and that’s what it takes to hope to come back. I am rewarded.
Benzema is believed to have encouraged Valbuena to cooperate with blackmailers, who threatened to post an intimate video in which he appeared.
Investigators who indicted Benzema believe he was approached by a childhood friend to mediate and convince Valbuena to deal directly with the blackmailers. Instead, Valbuena informed the police.
Benzema (right) was exiled for six years because of a sex tape scandal with Mathieu Valbuena (left)
When the story broke, Benzema came under heavy criticism and then Prime Minister Manuel Valls said the striker “had no place” in the national team. He had been unable to restore relations and return to his country until his recall in early summer.
It is understood that Benzema will be tried from October 20 to 22 this year and he denies any wrongdoing and four other people will also be tried in this case.
The Real Madrid forward maintains there are regrets about his incident involving Valbuena but says he is only focusing on France’s performance in the summer tournament.
Benzema insists he is only focusing on helping France in this summer’s European tournament
He added: “There are always regrets. I mean what happened happened. There are always regrets, but you can’t go back.
“What matters most to me is what you did on the football field, I am focused as much as possible on what I can bring to this team. This is what I have in mind for ambition.
The striker ended his press conference by confirming that he had already spoken to Deschamps about his return and drawing a line on the scandal.
The Real Madrid man confirmed he said ‘thank you’ to Deschamps for giving him a callback
When asked to thank the boss of France for bringing him back, Benzema joked: “I think I told him already. Do you want me to say it here? Thank you Didier.
“We’ve already had a discussion,” they said. I am very happy to be here.
Benzema is hoping to help France achieve a World Cup and European Championship double after winning their second trophy in the world tournament in 2018.