Ligue 1

Algeria manager says he is NOT interested in Karim Benzema


‘I’m very happy with the players I have’: Algeria manager Djamel Belmadi says he is NOT interested in Karim Benzema playing for his side after striker begged France to let him represent another nation

  • Karim Benzema, of Algerian descent, is not wanted by manager Djamel Belmadi
  • He has not played for France since 2015 following a scandal, and wants a swap
  • It is unlikely he will be allowed to play for another country due to FIFA rules 

Although Karim Benzema is looking to switch allegiances after being snubbed for the French national team once again, it appears he won’t be going to play for Algeria. 

Benzema, who is of Algerian descent, probably wouldn’t be allowed to swap anyway due to FIFA rules, but now the Algeria manager has stopped any potential rumours dead in their tracks.

‘I have (Baghdad) Bounedjah, Islam (Slimani), (Andy) Delort, (Hillal) Soudani. I’m very happy with the players I have,’ said Djamel Belmadi, according to Algerian football website DZFoot.   

Karim Benzema wishes to switch national sides after four years of being snubbed by France

Djamel Belmadi, manager of Algeria, said he wouldn't need Benzema to play for his squad

Djamel Belmadi, manager of Algeria, said he wouldn’t need Benzema to play for his squad

Algeria won the African Cup of Nations this year, so Belmadi’s claim that Benzema isn’t necessary for the squad would appear to hold some weight. 

Benzema, who has not featured for his country since 2015, has not been massively missed over the past few years despite being one of the world’s most lethal strikers.

The forward had been cast out from the national fold after he was charged with conspiracy to blackmail French team-mate Mathieu Valbuena over a sex tape. 

The 31-year-old missed out on the Euro 2016 campaign on home soil and France’s 2018 World Cup win, and the striker has since taken to social media to air his views at the French Football Federation after another snub as he expressed his desire to switch countries.

Aiming his Twitter rant at the FFF president, Noel Le Graet, Benzema wrote: ‘Noel, I thought you weren’t interfering with the coach’s decisions!

‘I want you to know that I and I alone would end my international career. If you think I’m finished, let me play for one of the countries that I’m eligible for and we’ll see.’ 

Benzema's hopes of a return to France fold were shot down by its FA president Noel Le Graet

Benzema has scored 27 goals for France in all competitions but is not wanted by Les Blues

Le Graet made it clear that Benzema will never be called up for his country again.

‘Karim Benzema is a very good player, I have never doubted his qualities,’ he said. ‘On the contrary, he shows Real Madrid that he is one of the best players around. But his adventure with the French National team is over.’

Back in November 2015 Benzema was charged for conspiracy to blackmail Valbuena using mobile phone footage, with France suspending him from the team thereafter.

A long legal battle saw his attempt to have the case quashed initially rejected as he and another suspect claimed the police acted ‘dishonestly’ in the case. The prosecution is currently halted on appeal.  

The Real Madrid forward trains alongside Mathieu Valbuena in 2013 before the saga begun

 The Real Madrid forward trains alongside Mathieu Valbuena in 2013 before the saga begun 

Speaking to L’Equipe about the saga in 2017, Benzema hit out at Valbuena over the blackmail scandal and accused him of lying and ‘dragging him in the mud’.

‘There’s really something wrong with him… it’s all part of his story,’ he said.

‘For more than a year-and-a-half I’m his worst enemy, a bad guy, a thug, I have to be punished, dragged in the mud, my name and that of my family, in the dirt.

‘I am his enemy, I wanted to take money from him – he really has to stop inventing, it makes me mad he keeps on lying! Sex tape? He just had to tell the truth about what really happened.’  



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