Why was benzema not in the world cup

    france announced the 23-man squad it will take to russia in a few weeks and, to no one’s surprise and astonishment, karim benzema is not on coach didier deschamps’s list. instead, in the forward positions, deschamps has named ousmane dembele, nabil fekir, olivier giroud, antoine griezmann, thomas lemar, kylian mbappé and florian thauvin.

    deschamps selections are not far behind and he also omitted other established strikers like anthony martial and alexandre lacazette, who could only make the reserve squad. one can’t help but wonder what would happen if they brought a certain controversial real madrid striker on the plane to russia with them? You know who I’m talking about: the K9 himself, Karim Benzema.

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    See also: Report: 2021 Club World Cup to be played in China – Stars and Stripes FC

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    Benzema has not played for France since October 2015. In November 2015, Benzema was arrested by French police for his alleged role in blackmailing and attempting to extort fellow France player at the time, Mathieu Valbuena. As the story goes, Karim Zenati, allegedly a childhood friend of Benzema’s, somehow got hold of a sex tape (recording) featuring Valbuena and a woman who is not his wife. Valbuena has been married since 2009. Valbuena then began receiving messages from the extortionists telling them they had the video and would post it if he didn’t pay them.

    See also: How many concacaf teams go to the world cup

    this is where benzema comes into play. At some point during the extortion attempt, Benzema spoke with Valbuena while the two were training for France’s upcoming match. Benzema allegedly told Valbuena that he had seen the video and knew his friend had it and that the best thing Valbuena could do was “go to Lyon and talk to (Zenati) about it.” this was discovered after transcripts of benzema and zenati’s phone conversation discussing this were leaked in 2015. while the evidence is quite damning, benzema was later criminally acquitted, although this scandal cost him the respect of many in france, including French Football Association and manager Didier Deschamps Benzema has been blacklisted and exiled from the team. While there is no doubt that Benzema was wrong to be involved, one can’t help but wonder if France’s Benzema loss is the rest of the world’s gain.

    while benzema is not the typical no. 9 striker/poacher and not even Real Madrid’s best striker (which is quite difficult when Cr7 is your teammate), Benzema has proven to be consistent over the years and scores important goals when they matter most. In fact, it was only a few weeks ago that Benzema scored twice against Bayern Munich to ensure that Real Madrid drew the second leg and, as a result, advanced to the Champions League final 4-3 on aggregate. The man does it when he has to and when he counts.

    france could have used a player with that drive, passion and even a little asshole attitude to take it to the next level in russia. He has delivered the country from him before, scoring the goal that equalized the aggregate score in the second leg of the 2014 World Cup qualifying tie against Ukraine. france would win the second leg 3-0 and qualify for brazil 2014. and as if that were not enough, in that world cup benzema himself scored three goals in the group stage and was voted the best player in the group stage.

    benzema could have been a dangerous tool and reassuring veteran presence for youngsters like mbappé and dembele, and for anyone who thinks he would be disruptive, he seems to be doing well at real madrid, playing for the third time in a row. champions league final next week. His teammates, including Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale, adore him and even Real Madrid president Florentino Perez and his manager Zinedine Zidane consider him something of a golden boy in Madrid. How disruptive could he really be if he excels at the best club in the world?

    See also: Report: 2021 Club World Cup to be played in China – Stars and Stripes FC

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    france ’98 midfielder and world cup winner emmanuel petit recently said of france’s chances in russia: “it’s still too early i think. we can expect semi-finals but there are some good teams better than us .because they have a soul in their team, we don’t have a soul.”

    benzema has shown he can have soul when it matters most, and maybe that’s what france lacks when it really matters. he apologized for his past misdeeds and admitted that he still wants to play for france again one day. he even made a very good documentary called “le k benzema” which you really should watch. It’s essentially a two-hour apology and love letter to France and French football.

    so, in the immortal words of justin bieber: “is it too late now to say i’m sorry?” For Karim Benzema, it seems it is.

    See also: How many teams qualify for world cup from concacaf

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