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Zidane: Benzema must play at Euro 2016

1:09 PM EST 1/19/16
The Real Madrid coach has insisted France cannot afford not to select a player of the striker's calibre as he continues to be excluded from international football

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane has urged the French Football Federation (FFF) to allow Karim Benzema to represent his country at Euro 2016.

Benzema has been suspended by the FFF until the legal investigation into his involvement in an alleged plot to blackmail international team-mate Mathieu Valbuena has been concluded.

That has put his participation at the home European Championship this summer in doubt and Zidane says Les Bleus will be seriously damaging their chances of victory if Benzema is not involved.

"France cannot afford to ignore a player of Benzema's calibre," Zidane told Le Foot.

"When we look at his numbers and everything he does on the field, we cannot let a player of this level go."

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Benzema has so far made no attempts to have his ban lifted, taking to Twitter last month to accept the decision while continuing to deny any involvement in a criminal conspiracy against Valbuena.

The 28-year-old has continued to feature for Real Madrid and scored in his side's 5-1 rout of Sporting Gijon on Sunday before being substituted with an injury.

"Zidane's a great coach, he knows everything about football," Benzema told AS. "We're with him all the way."