French forward Karim Benzema has not represented France since October 2015. It’s strongly believed that as long as Didier Deschamps remains in charge of the French National Soccer Team, Benzema’s exile from the squad will stay in effect.
Deschamps has faced harsh criticism due to Benzema’s omission from the squad. However, without Benzema, France has been a very strong team, as far as talent goes. Les Bleus are at the point where they honestly have no use for Benzema.
Benzema claims his omission is due to his involvement in a sex tape scandal, involving a fellow French teammate Mathieu Valbuena. Benzema claims that Valbuena “invented lies” regarding the case, damaging his reputation. The case is still ongoing as it appears far from over.
Shortly before the Euro 16 tournament, Deschamps made a controversial decision by not selecting Benzema to be part of the squad, drawing heavy criticism from the French Sports Media. Benzema accused Deschamps of “bowing to the pressure of a racist part of France” by not selecting him. Deschamps has given a reason to not calling Benzema to the squad. That reason is there’s a lot of harmony within the team and recalling Benzema would risk the destruction of that harmony.
Truth be told, it’s safe to say that Benzema will never wear the uniform of France again. The 30-year-old has been exiled for a long time and during that time several young and talented players have stepped up to the plate as far as the forward attacking position goes. It was suggested that Benzema be brought back to provide leadership expertise to the likes of Antoine Griezmann, Kylian Mbappe, and Alexandre Lacazette. However, the French Football Federation has opted to use the services of veterans Olivier Giroud and Dmitri Payet for mentoring purposes.
It really looks as though the Benzema era ended after France’s brilliant run in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. While fans are still supporting and looking for Benzema to represent France again, the French Football Federation has moved on.