Valbuena open to playing alongside Benzema again
The Lyon midfielder wants to move on from the blackmail scandal in which himself and the Real Madrid are implicated. “2015 is behind me now”.
France midfielder Mathieu Valbuena has stated that he would be willing to play alongside Karim Benzema in the national team at this summer’s European Championships in spite of the ongoing blackmail investigation involving the Real Madrid striker.
“We will see how things go, but yes, that wouldn’t be a problem for me. Anything is possible. It’s not as if it were a murder”, the Lyon midfielder told TF1.
His comments come as Benzema is still serving a suspension from the French Football Federation after being charged with complicity to blackmail and conspiring to commit a criminal act involving an alleged sex tape featuring Valbuena.
The charges carry a possible prison sentence of five years. The Real Madrid number nine was also banned from meeting with 31-year-old Valbuena, who currently plays for Ligue 1 side Lyon, the club with which Benzema began his career.
Valbuena's form has dipped to such an extent in recent months that he may struggle to win his place back in Didier Deschamps' France squad and he is resigned to the fact that “the story will rear its head again with the Euros approaching and the fact that two French players are implicated in the case”.
He added: “The Euros have been our objective for the last two years. We have been readying ourselves for them and do I imagine myself not being involved, not even for a second”.
“My place isn’t guaranteed. I had a chat with the coach but I’m not going to discuss what was said. We talked about a lot of things and my mind was put at ease”.
Currently sidelined with a thigh injury, Valbuena last played for Les Bleus in October in a 2-1 friendly win against Denmark.
He was left out of the squad for the November friendly matches against Germany and England with Deschamps saying he wanted to “protect” his player in the wake of the blackmail scandal.
“It was hard to accept. At the time I was angry because I was the victim and I felt like I was being punished twice. Looking back on it all, I now understand the manager’s decision. 2015 is behind me now. It's time to move on”, he said.