French forward Karim Benzema believes racism is the reason he has been omitted from the nation’s 23-man Euro 2016 squad.
The striker won the Champions League with Real Madrid on Saturday, but was nevertheless deemed surplus to requirements in the French squad. Subsequently, the 28-year-old has accused national team manager Didier Deschamps of prejudice, believing his and Hatem Ben Arfa’s exclusions from the side are due to political tension.
‘He [Deschamps] bowed to the pressure of a racist part of France,’ the forward told Marca.
‘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.’
Benzema believes his performances this season merit him selection for the side, regardless of his impending court case; where he will have to answer for his role in the Mathieu Valbuena sex tape scandal.
‘In sporting terms, I do not understand why,’ Benzema said.
‘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 posted some of his best stats for Real this season, netting 28 times from 36 appearances.