PARIS – Real Madrid forward Karim Benzema looked poised to be included in France’s squad for next month’s European Championship in a surprise move by coach Didier Deschamps on Tuesday (May 18).
Benzema, who has scored 29 goals in all competitions for Real this season, has not played for Les Bleus since 2015 following a blackmailing scandal – over which he faces a trial in October.
He also said in 2016 that Deschamps had “bowed to the pressure of a racist part of France” when leaving the player out of the Euros squad that year.
French newspaper Le Parisien reported on Tuesday that the 33-year-old, who scored 27 goals from 81 caps, would feature in Deschamps’ 26-man squad.
Deschamps will unveil his list of players later on Tuesday, around 1820GMT.
Antoine Griezmann, Kylian Mbappe, Kingsley Coman, Olivier Giroud, Ousmane Dembele, Wissam Ben Yedder and Anthony Martial should feature, with Benzema now being “considered” to be added, according to a report in Tuesday’s L’Equipe sports daily.
While Deschamps has not picked him since October 2015 and said he would “never forget” Benzema’s comments, he has never stated that he would not call him up again.
Benzema was named best French player in a foreign league by the French professional footballers’ union on Sunday.
The European Championship, which was delayed by a year amid the Covid-19 pandemic, will start on June 11.
World champions France are in Group F with Germany, Hungary and Portugal.