Karim Benzema will stand trial in a French court on June 30 after appealing against being found guilty in an attempt to blackmail former teammate Mathieu Valbuena over a sex tape.
Back in 2016, Mathieu Valbuena was being blackmailed over the leaking of a sex tape which he was filmed in, and Benzema was accused of pushing the Olympiacos forward to pay the blackmailers whatever they were asking for.
Valbuena and Benzema both lost their places in the national team because of the scandal but Benzema has since returned after the France Football Federation could no longer ignore his brilliant performances in the white of Real Madrid.
Before the trial, after Benzema was called back to the France national team, France Football Federation president Noel Le Graet said that Benzema “will not be excluded” from Les Bleus if he were found guilty.
In November 2021, the Real Madrid captain was found guilty of complicity in the scandal after the accusations were laid before the judge of the case. He was sentenced to one year in prison, which was suspended due to him being a first-time offender and a €75,000 fine.
Benzema appealed the ruling, and will now return to court on June 30 to defend himself with the hopes of getting a new judgment. The appeal, which is expected to last two days, will take place in the same court where he was sentenced; in Versailles, France.
Four other men – Axel Angot, Mustapha Zouaoui, Younes Houass and Karim Zenati – were also found guilty of attempting to blackmail Valbuena and received prison sentences.
Benzema will be done with work commitments by June 30 and available for the appeal trial. However, his legal team did not confirm whether Benzema will attend the court case since he missed the three-day trial in November which saw him receive his one year suspended prison sentence for professional reasons.
Real Madrid may be without their star man at the weekend when the second El Clasico of the LaLiga season will take place.
Benzema is a doubt for the high-octane affair as his physical fitness has suffered a bit in the past week. Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti remains tight-lipped on the availability of the Frenchman, who, at the weekend, became the highest-scoring French player in history when he netted his 431st career goal.
Los Blancos will be hoping that their captain can regain his fitness for the fixture which will not only give Madrid more bragging rights over their eternal rivals if they win, but help to further extend their lead at the top of the LaLiga table this season.
Madrid currently have a 10 point lead at the top of the table which suggests that they are running away with the title. However, those points are largely due to Benzema’s finishing, which has pulled them from many a tight spot.
A loss to Barcelona who are currently on the up may not affect their title charge much this season but may speak to their overdependence on the French striker. However, that is not a risk the club is willing to take right now.
Real Madrid will also be without Ferland Mendy for the Clasico against Barcelona on Sunday night, with the left-back suffering a small tear in his adductor.