Karim Benzema was not selected by French Football Federation for Euros 2016 and will not be able to take part in it so as not to “disrupt the spirit” in the national squad, French football chief Noel Le Graet told sports daily L’Equipe on Thursday.
The French Football Federation (FFF) president also said that the Real Madrid star had “done something really stupid” over the Mathieu Valbuena sex tape affair.
Last month, some legal restrictions were lifted over the 28-year-old making contact with Valbuena, meaning he could play for France.
He was suspended from France duty in December after he was placed under criminal investigation over an attempt to blackmail France teammate Valbuena about a sex-tape.
Benzema has been accused of complicity in the attempt.Legal restrictions barring Benzema from coming into contact with Valbuena were recently lifted, and he didn’t find guilty by the court, but on Wednesday, the FFF announced that, even so, he would not be selected for the June 10-July 10 tournament.
Benzema, who denies wrongdoing, said on Twitter the decision was unfortunate “for me and those who support me.”
Malheureusement pour moi et pour tous ceux qui m'ont toujours soutenu et supporté. Je ne serai pas sélectionné pour notre Euro en France…
— Karim Benzema (@Benzema) April 13, 2016
Translated into English, he said, Unfortunately for me and for all those who have me always supported and supported. I am not selected for our Euro in France.
Le Graet, in an interview published on L’Equipe’s website, said:“The deciding factor was the way the squad got on during the training camp
We felt there was a strong harmony. On the pitch, we felt they were conducting themselves so well that it wasn’t worth taking the risk of disrupting that spirit.
Ahead of the decision, Benzema wrote on his Facebook page: “Whatever happens… Once a Blue, always a Blue!” and posted a video showing some of his 27 international goals.
Benzema played in Tuesday’s Champions League quarter-final second leg as Madrid overturned a two-goal first leg deficit to knock out Wolfsburg 3-2.