Benzema's France recall came out of the blue for Valbuena: 'Did Deschamps call me? No'

By Sports Desk May 20, 2021

Mathieu Valbuena revealed he was not consulted by Didier Deschamps over the surprise recall of Karim Benzema to the France squad.

Real Madrid striker Benzema is due to stand trial in October regarding an allegation of complicity in the attempted blackmail of former France team-mate Valbuena over a sex tape.

The 33-year-old Benzema strenuously denies putting pressure on Valbuena to pay the alleged blackmailers, who were said to be threatening to release a video featuring the former Marseille and Lyon player.

Since the claims of blackmail emerged in late 2015, Benzema was dropped from the France squad and looked to have no future with Les Bleus, at least until his case was heard in court.

However, a surprise recall came on Tuesday when Benzema was selected for France's Euro 2020 squad, and he looks set for a key role in the team during that tournament.

Valbuena told RMC Sport: "Did the coach call me? No, and I don't expect anything from anyone. When you're at the top, everyone is talking about you; when you disappear a little from the radars, you expect nothing from anyone.

"I make my life, I enjoy myself on the pitch. I expect nothing from Didier or anyone else. If you want to know if he called me, I say no."

Now with Greek club Olympiacos, Valbuena, 36, also last played for France in 2015.

The 52-cap midfielder said he understood why Benzema was being brought back into Deschamps' squad.

"If he can bring more to the France team, so much the better for the Blues," Valbuena said.

"It will play out on the pitch. For me, Didier Deschamps comes out the winner in all cases. If the France team works, we will say that he had to adapt despite a difficult context.

"If France performs less, we will not blame him. That's what he knows how to do well, he knows how to make his squads. In attack, he has no guarantees, he made his choices. I think he will come out a winner either way."

Benzema scored a brace in a friendly against Armenia on his last appearance for France in October 2015.

His form for Real Madrid has often been exceptional in the years since, landing him three Champions Leagues and two LaLiga titles during his absence from the France squad.

Related items

  • Juventus 2-2 Lazio: Milinkovic-Savic late show ruins Dybala's Turin farewell Juventus 2-2 Lazio: Milinkovic-Savic late show ruins Dybala's Turin farewell

    Sergej Milinkovic-Savic scored a dramatic 96th-minute equaliser as Lazio came from two goals down to snatch a 2-2 draw with Juventus in Turin.

    In a match where Juventus paid tribute to departing stars Giorgio Chiellini and Paulo Dybala, first-half goals from Dusan Vlahovic and Alvaro Morata seemed to have put the Bianconeri in control.

    But after Alex Sandro's own goal halved the arrears, Maurizio Sarri's return to the Allianz Stadium ended in chaotic fashion when Milinkovic-Savic fired into the roof of the net with the last kick of the game.

    As well as spoiling the farewell home appearances of Chiellini and Dybala, the result boosted Lazio's hopes of beating local rivals Roma to a fifth-place finish in Serie A.

  • Bale 'likely' to return to English football as agent confirms Madrid exit Bale 'likely' to return to English football as agent confirms Madrid exit

    Gareth Bale could be set for a return to English football when his Real Madrid contract expires next month, according to his agent Jonathan Barnett, who has confirmed the winger's imminent exit from the Santiago Bernabeu.

    The 32-year-old already looked set to leave Los Blancos at the end of his deal, with Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti saying last month that Bale wanted "to finish on a high note" with the club.

    While Madrid wrapped up their 35th league title recently, Bale's role in that success was virtually none-existent, with the former Tottenham man making just seven appearances all season in all competitions, totalling just 290 minutes of action.

    Bale has won four Champions League titles during his nine-year spell in the Spanish capital, scoring three goals in finals of the competition (one against Atletico Madrid in 2014 and two against Liverpool in 2018).

    However, he has attracted the ire of the club's fans ever since he paraded a flag bearing the slogan "Wales. Golf. Madrid. In that order" after helping his national team qualify for Euro 2020, and was described as a "parasite" in Spanish sports daily Marca earlier this year.

    Bale remains a key man for his country, scoring a brace in Wales' 2-1 World Cup qualification win over Austria in March to put them within one win of reaching the tournament in Qatar, and Barnett says the result of the Dragons' June play-off against either Scotland or Ukraine will inform any decision on the player's future.

    He also hinted Bale could return to England next season, having returned to Tottenham on loan for the duration of the 2020-21 campaign. 

    "Gareth will leave Real Madrid, but we have to wait for what Wales will be able to do," Barnett told Portuguese outlet Record.

    "It all depends on whether Wales qualify for the World Cup, then we will make a decision, which may vary on whether or not Wales go to the World Cup. 

    "Is he likely to return to England? I think so, but we'll have to wait and see."

    Wales will face either Scotland or Ukraine on June 5 in Cardiff for a place at the World Cup, where they would face England after being drawn into Group B. 

  • Dwight Yorke signs two-year deal as head coach of Macarthur FC in Australia's A-League Dwight Yorke signs two-year deal as head coach of Macarthur FC in Australia's A-League

    Former Trinidad and Tobago and Manchester United striker Dwight Yorke has signed a deal to coach Macarthur FC in Australia’s A-League. Yorke replaces Ante Milicic and will lead the Bulls for the next two seasons in what will be his first role as a senior coach.

    “Having played in the augural A-League Men’s season I have continually followed the competition and am aware of both the footballing and fan demands in Australia,” said Yorke, who played for Sydney FC in the augural season of the A-League.

    “I look forward to adding a positive contribution and improve the game at all levels. Of course, my primary focus will be with the Bulls, to deliver them success and a style of football that defined me as a player.”

    Yorke, 50, enjoyed a successful career as a player. He won the treble – Premier League, FA Cup and  Champions League in his first season with Manchester United in 1999 when he scored 18 goals to be the leading scorer in the league.

    He represented Trinidad and Tobago on 72 occasions scoring 19 goals.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.