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Karim Benzema

Benzema desperate to end France exile ahead of World Cup

12:44 GMT+3 01/11/2017
Karim Benzema - cropped
The Real Madrid striker has not played for his country for over two years but is hopeful of forcing his way back into Didier Deschamps' plans

Karim Benzema is desperate to end his two-year international exile and play for France at the World Cup.

The Real Madrid striker scored twice during his last appearance for Les Bleus in a 4-0 friendly win over Armenia in October 2015, shortly before becoming embroiled in a scandal involving an alleged attempt to blackmail international team-mate Mathieu Valbuena over a sex tape.

Benzema was charged with conspiracy to blackmail and the case remains ongoing, but France's Court of Cassation – the country's court of final appeals in civil and criminal proceedings – backed him in July, finding that an undercover police officer acted dishonestly and pushed the parties involved towards a deal that would not have taken place without his actions.

Nevertheless, France coach Didier Deschamps - who has committed to a new contract through to 2020 - has not picked up the phone and Benzema remains in the international wilderness.

"You have to make the most of all opportunities," he told Les Inrockuptibles.

"Of course I want to come back to the France team. Which footballer does not dream of playing a World Cup? I try to be the best in my club and we will see in the end.

"Talking is no longer useful and it can be misinterpreted. I don't speak anymore; I do not say anything anymore. I try to have good performances and win titles.

"It's difficult to understand the perception that people can have for me in France, but I don't think I can change that.

"There is a small minority who enjoy saying anything every day, thinking that it can improve audience [figures] or sell papers."