Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema will not be called up for France when his country host Euro 2016 this summer, confirmed the French Football Federation (FFF) on Wednesday.
“Athletic performance is an important factor but not exclusive criterion for deciding the France football selection,” read a statement released after the FFF president Noel Le Graet and the France coach Didier Deschamps had met that afternoon to discuss Benzema’s situation.
“The ability of players to work towards unity, in and around the squad, and to be exemplary are also taken into account.
“As a result, Noel Le Graet and Didier Deschamps decided that Karim Benzema will not participate in Euro 2016.”
Earlier, the 28-year-old striker confirmed it through network ahead of the FFF release.
“Unfortunately for me and for those who have always backed me and supported me, I will not be selected for our Euro in France,” Benzema revealed on his Twitter account.
He also wrote on his Facebook page, saying that “Wahtever happens… Once a Blue, always a Blue!”
The Real Madrid star forward was just lifted his legal restrictions over his alleged involvement in Mathieu Valbuena’s sex-tape case one month ago, considered having paved the way for Benzema to play for the national team.
Earlier last November, a French judge placed Benzema under formal investigation as the Real Madrid star was accused of blackmailing fellow French international Valbuena over a sex-tape.
Both players were omitted from the national squad just an hour after Benzema was charged, while Benzema was not allowed to come into contact with Valbuena.
Benzema has admitted approaching Valbuena about the sex-tape “on behalf of a childhood friend” who himself had been contacted by blackmailers, but denied any wrongdoing. If convicted, he would serve up to five years.
As part of the France side that lifted the European Under-17 Championship 12 years ago, Benzema has represented his country on 81 occasions with 27 goals and was a key part of the squad for last year’s World Cup in Brazil.
He has won the La Liga and the Champions League with Real and has twice won the Copa del Rey, and he won four Ligue 1 titles and a Coupe de France with Olympique Lyon before joining Madrid in 2009.