EURO 2016: African heritage prevented Benzema and Arfa from making the France Squad
The Real Madrid star was left out of the hosts’ Euro 2016 squad, as the French Football Federation cited his need “to work towards unity” pending the outcome of a legal investigation into an alleged plot to blackmail fellow international Mathieu Valbuena, which had seen him suspended from international duty in December.
Eric Cantona had suggested Benzema, and Hatem Ben Arfa, had been left out of the squad due to their African heritage.
Karim Mostafa Benzema is a French professional footballer of Algerian descent who plays for Spanish club Real Madrid and the France national team as a striker
Ben Arfa was born into a family with a football history. His father was the former Tunisian international footballer Kamel Ben Arfa
Benzema, 28, said he felt coach Deschamps may have listened to political powers in his squad selection.
“He has bowed to the pressure of a racist part of France,” he told Marca.
“He has to know that in France the extremist party reached the second round in the last two elections.
“I do not know, therefore, whether it is a decision only for Didier because I’ve gotten along with him, with the president, everyone.”
Benzema, who scored 28 goals for his club this season, is still open to playing for France again.
He said there was no reason for him to be left out, given his performances for the Champions League winners this campaign.
“In sporting terms, I do not understand why,” Benzema said.
“At the judicial level, I have not been judged. I am not guilty, so we have to wait to see what the justice says.
“I like football and to play with my team.”