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Benzema claims French coach supports him in sex-tape scandal

French football player Karim Benzema.
French football player Karim Benzema. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

French Footballer Karim Benzema claims he retains the support of French coach Didier Deschamps despite being charged for his alleged participation in a blackmail case involving fellow teammate Mathieu Valbuena over a sex-tape.

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"I have had a message from him. He supports me, of course," said Benzema of Deschamps in an interview broadcast by French television station TF1 on Sunday.
Real Madrid star Benzema was not called for last month's friendly matches against Germany and England, officially due to injury.

However, the games came just after he was charged with complicity to blackmail and conspiring to commit a criminal act in relation to the sex tape and told that he was not allowed to contact Valbuena.

Lyon midfielder Valbuena was also left out of the most recent France squad, with Deschamps claiming the decision was made to "protect" the player. Benzema risks up to five years in prison and his future as part of the France team looks to be in serious doubt ahead of Euro 2016, although he remains hopeful of being able to return to the competition in time.

"There are also players in the national team who support me," said Benzema, who is France's leading current international star with 27 goals from 81 caps.

The French Football Federation (FFF) has requested to become a civil party in the investigation in order to have access to the case files. FFF president Noel Le Graet will give a press conference on Thursday, two days before the Euro 2016 draw, in which he is expected to discuss Benzema's international future.

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