Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema has threatened to switch his international allegiance after once again being overlooked for the France squad.
Benzema, who has not featured for his country since 2015, has not been massively missed over the past few years despite being one of the world’s most lethal strikers.
The forward had been cast out from the national fold after he was charged with conspiracy to blackmail French team-mate Mathieu Valbuena over a sex tape.
The 31-year-old missed out on the Euro 2016 campaign on home soil and France’s 2018 World Cup win, and the striker has since taken to social media to air his views at the French Football Federation after another snub as he expressed his desire to switch countries.
Aiming his Twitter rant at the FFF president, Noel Le Graet, Benzema wrote: ‘Noel, I thought you weren’t interfering with the coach’s decisions!
‘I want you to know that I and I alone would end my international career. If you think I’m finished, let me play for one of the countries that I’m eligible for and we’ll see.’
Whilst Benzema is of Algerian decent, he will find it extremely difficult to change his national team status given that he has played competitively for France and wouldn’t be allowed to switch under current FIFA rules.
Le Graet made it clear that Benzema will never be called up for his country again.
‘Karim Benzema is a very good player, I have never doubted his qualities,’ he said. ‘On the contrary, he shows Real Madrid that he is one of the best players around. But his adventure with the French National team is over.’
Back in November 2015 Benzema was charged for conspiracy to blackmail Valbuena using mobile phone footage, with France suspending him from the team thereafter.
A long legal battle saw his attempt to have the case quashed initially rejected as he and another suspect claimed the police acted ‘dishonestly’ in the case. The prosecution is currently halted on appeal.
Speaking to L’Equipe about the saga in 2017, Benzema hit out at Valbuena over the blackmail scandal and accused him of lying and ‘dragging him in the mud’.
‘There’s really something wrong with him… it’s all part of his story,’ he said.
‘For more than a year-and-a-half I’m his worst enemy, a bad guy, a thug, I have to be punished, dragged in the mud, my name and that of my family, in the dirt.
‘I am his enemy, I wanted to take money from him – he really has to stop inventing, it makes me mad he keeps on lying! Sex tape? He just had to tell the truth about what really happened.’