Benitez chases Karim Benzema

Madrid, December 12

Real Madrid boss Rafael Benitez has reiterated his support for troubled French striker Karim Benzema after he was indefinitely suspended from representing his country.

Benzema faces criminal charges in his homeland after allegedly becoming embroiled in a sex-tape blackmail attempt against international teammate Mathieu Valbuena. The 27-year-old now looks set to miss next summer’s European Championships on home soil unless the case is resolved before June, French Football Federation president Noel Le Graet said.

However, in contrast to the reaction in France, Benzema has received full support from Real with both Benitez and club president Florentino Perez insisting they have faith that his name will eventually be cleared. “I have shown and we are all in agreement that we 100 percent support Karim,” Benitez said on Saturday. “In the contact we have with him he is an excellent person.”

Benzema has rewarded Madrid’s faith by scoring five times in his last two games, including his first hat-trick in five years in a 8-0 mauling of Malmo on Tuesday. “He is a fundamental player for us and I want him to continue scoring goals so that he is helping Real,” he said.