Paris, May 26 (EFE).- French national team coach Didier Deschamps on Wednesday downplayed the return of Karim Benzema to the squad ahead of Euro 2020, after a nearly six-year absence.
“He joins a group that he knows, they know him and he has his place, in the same way as the rest of the players,” said Deschamps at a press conference.
Benzema missed Euro 2016 – an event hosted by France in which Les Bleus ranked second – and the national team’s successful bid to the title at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.
The Real Madrid forward’s absence was due to his alleged involvement in a sex-tape and blackmail scandal also involving former international teammate Mathieu Valbuena.
Deschamps said that the return of the player, who will stand trial over those allegations in October, “is not an event” despite the high expectations around it.
“I will not do anything in particular, I have to manage the group as a whole,” he said.
The 33-year-old is expected to wear France’s kit on 2 June during a friendly game against Wales in Nice.
“I understand that you are eager to know the details (of the conversation with Benzema prior to calling him up), but you will not have them from me,” Deschamps said, adding that Benzema has freedom to talk if he wishes.
France will play in Group F facing Hungary, holders Portugal and Germany, their first rival in the competition in a match scheduled for 15 June. EFE