France striker Karim Benzema has claimed national team manager Didier Deschamps “bowed to the pressure of a racist part of France” by omitting him from the Euro 2016 squad.
Deschamps left out the Real Madrid striker after the national federation ruled against his return after he was charged with conspiracy to blackmail last year as part of an investigation into an alleged attempt to extort money from his France teammate, Mathieu Valbuena.
Earlier this week, former France international Eric Cantona suggested that Benzema, and Nice star Ben Arfa, had been left out of the squad because of their ethnicity.
UnfaIn sporting terms, I do not understand why. At the judicial level, I have not been judged. I am not guilty, so we have to wait to see what the justice says.
Benzema hit out at the manager in an interview with the Spanish newspaper, Marca, claiming it had more to do with his north African roots than the case involving Valbuena.
“He (Deschamps) has bowed to the pressure of a racist part of France, 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. I do not have a problem with anyone,” Benzema said.
“In sporting terms, I do not understand why. 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,“Benzema added.
zed by criticisms, Deschamps and his squad have based themselves in an Austrian mountain resort until June 4, when they take on Scotland in a pre-tournament warm up match in Metz.