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'It is the coach's choice' - Valbuena speaks out on Benzema's France recall

The pair found themselves frozen out by Les Bleus following a sex tape blackmail scandal in 2015

Former France star Mathieu Valbuena insists he bears no hard feelings with Didier Deschamps for having recalled Karim Benzema to the national team fold.

Benzema, 33, received his first call-up for Les Bleus in six years as he was included in their squad for Euro 2020 this week.

The Real Madrid star had previously been dropped due to serious allegations regarding him and Valbuena.

What was said?

"If [Benzema] can bring more to the France team, so that's good for him. It will be on the field that it will be played," Valbuena explained to RMC when asked about Benzema's inclusion.

"It is the coach's choice. For me, Didier will be a winner in all cases. If the France team works, we will say that he was able to adapt and if it fails we will not blame him.

"He knows how to make his lists. He's very smart about that. Did he call me to let me know about his decision with Benzema? No, I don't expect anything from Didier, nothing from anyone. Today, I make my life and I have fun in the field. I have no further comments to make."

"Don't tell me it was a sporting decision"

The former Marseille, Lyon and Fenerbahce star also saw his international career come to an end in the aftermath of the scandal, which revolved around an alleged blackmail plot engineered by Benzema involving a sex tape.

At the start of 2021, almost six years after Benzema's initial arrest, French authorities announced that the case was set to go to trial.

And Valbuena, now 36 and still playing for Olympiacos, admits that he was upset with the way his France exit was handled.

“In 2016, when Didier called me to tell me that I was not taken [to Euro 2016] for sporting reasons ... I would have preferred to be dismissed for sporting reasons," he added.

"The France team is something very special, and which accepted me a lot. When you have represented the national team, it's hard to accept that. When you see that today there are players who are called up and who play very little in their clubs, you tell yourself that there are rules for some and there are others.

"Don't tell me it was for sporting reasons. That’s what hurt and disappointed me. But then we had to move on to something else."

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