KARIM Benzema has claimed that Didier Deschamps, the France head coach, gave into ‘pressure from a racist part of France’ by omitting him from his squad for this summer’s European Championships.
The 28-year-old, who is of Algerian descent, was suspended by the French Football Federation (FFF) in December after he was questioned by police in connection to an alleged blackmail attempt against international team-mate Mathieu Valbuena.
Benzema, who helped Real Madrid earn a penalty shoot-out victory over neighbours Atletico Madrid in this season’s Champions League final on Saturday, asked to be reconsidered for selection in April but was subsequently told that he would play no part the tournament, which will be held in France.
The striker has now claimed that the decision to uphold the suspension may have been influenced by political pressure and been made on the grounds of his ethnicity.
“He [Deschamps] has given in to the pressure of a racist part of France,” Benzema said in an interview with Marca, the Spanish daily sports newspaper.
“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.”