Well that’s thrown a clé into the works.
Clé being the French word for spanner of course, a fact not nearly as important as Karim Benzema”s inclusion in France’s 26-man squad for Euro 2020.
Rumours surfaced Tuesday morning that Real Madrid’s No9 would be selected by Didier Deschamps and by the evening it was official.
The four-time Champions League winner has not played international football since 2015 after he was suspended over his alleged involvement in a sex tape blackmail scandal also featuring ex-France midfielder Mathieu Valbuena.
Benzema is set to stand trial later this year, three months after the conclusion of this summer’s major international tournament.
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Deschamps stood firm on the matter for six years – during which time he delivered a World Cup for his country – but performed a sensational U-turn on Tuesday night to spice up Euro 2020.
It’s possible Les Bleus’ leader was concerned about Olivier Giroud’s reduced game time under Thomas Tuchel.
The experienced target man has not played a full 90 minutes in 2021 and hasn’t played more than half an hour in any game since his last appearance for France.
Incidentally, things might be rather awkward when Giroud and Benzema meet – the latter referred to himself as an ‘F1 car’ and the former as a ‘go-kart’ on an Instagram live in March of last year.
Wissam Ben Yedder is the other specialist centre-forward in the squad – though of course Kylian Mbappe can play through the middle as well – and while the Monaco forward has scored an impressive 22 goals in all competitions this season, Benzema is an altogether more imposing figure.
The 33-year-old has relished the challenge of stepping up as Real Madrid’s primary goal threat since Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure to Juventus, scoring 86 goals since the start of 2018/19.
Only Lionel Messi has scored more La Liga goals in the last three seasons.
Put simply, his form has been too good to ignore.
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With all due respect to Giroud, whose presence has often allowed Antoine Griezmann to be at his most effective, the addition of a genuinely world-class striker has given France an even greater chance of winning back-to-back tournaments.
The strongest squad in the tournament has just got even stronger.
The big question of course concerns Benzema’s Dream Team Euros price – the best fantasy football game to accompany Euro 2020.
Well, no need for any dramatic build-up, he’ll set you back £6.0m.
That puts him level with Romelu Lukaku and Robert Lewandowski but cheaper than Mbappe, Ronaldo and Harry Kane.
Although most fans will be familiar with every aspect of Benzema’s game, the fact he hasn’t kicked a ball for France in six years makes him something on an unknown entity in a modern international context.
Hugo Lloris, Raphael Varane and Griezmann are the only players remaining from the last starting line-up to also feature Benzema.
Couple this with France’s unfavourable draw alongside Germany, Portugal and Hungary in Group F and suddenly the prolific forward isn’t such an obvious choice for your Dream Team Euros XI.
However, the thought of him linking up with Mbappe and Griezmann while maintaining the form he’s shown for Real Madrid in the last three years should terrify Les Bleus’ rivals.