Real Madrid and France striker Karim Benzema has announced that he will not be representing his country at this summer's UEFA European Championships in his home country of France.
Benzema staying home
“Unfortunately for me and everyone who has encouraged and supported me, I won’t be selected for the European Championships,” Benzema wrote on Twitter.
The news will not come as a surprise to many as the forward has been embroiled in allegations he planned to blackmail his compatriot, Olympique Lyonnais midfielder Mathieu Valbuena. Benzema is being investigated for his part in the alleged plot and in December he was suspended by the French Football Federation and it has now been confirmed he will not take part in the Euros.
Benzema has always denied the allegations and although some restrictions were lifted last month, which meant Benzema could make contact with Valbuena and in turn allow the Real Madrid striker to play for France, that has now been quashed with FFF president Noel Le Graet and France coach Didier Deschamps made the decision not to include Benzema for the tournament.
Despite the talismanic striker being in hot form this season, scoring 25 goals in 29 games, Deschamps will have to look elsewhere for a clinical striker. One must think that Atletico Madrid's Antoine Griezmann is at the front of the queue after scoring 27 goals in 44 this term. Other forwards include Lyon's Alexandre Lacazette, Manchester United's Anthony Martial and Arsenal's Olivier Giroud. Despite not being able to select Benzema, Deschamps will still have a set of very good players to choose from.
The 2016 UEFA European Championships kick off on the 10th of June in Paris, when France will play host to Romania and with multiple betting companies touting France to win the competition, this could have been Benzema's chance to win silverware on an international stage.