Benzema still aims for France national team return

Lynette Rowe
May 19, 2017

The fact that it is still out there, though, and that the specter of the legal proceedings and Benzema's alleged involvement in the blackmail continues to keep the striker out of the French national team set-up, remains a source of frustration for Benzema.

Deschamps: "I'm sick of this Benzema story!"

France, now leading Group A with 13 points from five games, will visit Sweden on June 9 in a European zone qualifier of 2018 World Cup.

When the sex-tape scandal broke, Benzema faced heavy criticism, with then Prime Minister Manuel Valls saying he had "no place" in the national team.

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"The French team were built before the Euro past year, and tested through the competition where we were able to go into the final", explained Deschamps. "It continued to be so in the qualifying games", he said.

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'I have a squad where there's a balance, a harmony, a real dynamic that has been created. I have faith in the players, who have paid me back on the pitch. And now he says he wants to play with me again.

'I am the only decision-maker, I make decisions in a sporting setting. I always talk with my technical staff before I announce a squad. I've always acted like that, I do not change anything'.

With the returning Alexandre Lacazette and Kurt Zouma joining the likes of Ligue 1 champions Kylian Mbappe and Thomas Lemar, Deschamps has hinted that a look to the future could spell the end of Benzema's worldwide hopes under his leadership.

"Alexandre has had a very good season with Lyon", said Deschamps of the striker who has scored 26 league goals this term. I am his enemy, I wanted to take money from him?

But he called him up this time.

They are scheduled to have another two global friendlies at home, against Paraguay on June 2 and England on June 13 respectively.

Ian is ESPN's French football correspondent.

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