Didier Deschamps tried Wednesday to minimize the shock return of Karim Benzema in the France team as his team begins its preparations for Euro 2020, calling it a “non-event”.
Real Madrid striker Benzema’s nearly six-year exile from the national team for his alleged role in a blackmail plot ended last week when he was recalled by Deschamps for the European Championship delayed this summer.
He joined the squad at French training center Clairefontaine on Wednesday and is set to form a powerful attack with World Cup winners Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann.
“It’s a non-event,” Deschamps insisted. “That it interests people on the outside, OK, but for me he is happy to be there, it’s been a long time, he has regained his balance with the 21 other players. “
“He’s part of a group that knows each other, but he has earned his place just like the other players. “
Benzema told sports daily L’Equipe on Tuesday that he wanted to win a trophy with France now that he’s back in the fold for the first time since 2015.
He missed their 2018 World Cup victory and their run to the Euro 2016 final at home.
Benzema has scored 27 goals in 81 international matches and was named this season’s best foreign-based French player last week by the country’s players’ association.
He has scored 29 goals this season for Real Madrid, passing 20 league goals in the three seasons since Cristiano Ronaldo left for Juventus in 2018.
© 2021 AFP