It does feel like there has been an incredible number of footballers having issues with the law in recent weeks, but the situation with Karim Benzema has dragged on for years.
He was forced out of the French national side for years due to a complicated case surrounding a sex tape featuring his former teammate Mathieu Valbuena, while Benzema’s alleged involvement comes down to being an old friend of one of the blackmailers and he got involved in trying to sort it out.
Get French Football News have looked at some of the details surrounding the trial which is set to begin tomorrow, and the main takeaway for Real Madrid fans will be a claim from L’Equipe where it’s suggested the maximum punishment here would be five years in prison.
Benzema did actually play and score for Real in their 5-0 win over Shakhtar tonight so that tends to suggest he and his legal team aren’t overly concerned about a prison sentence, but he is facing a criminal trial so the prosecutors must be confident that they have the evidence to secure a conviction.
Interestingly there is another report from News9Live which has looked deeper into the allegations, and they do suggest that Benzema went to Valbuena and tried to get him to pay money to make this go away, while there are also allegations of a leaked phone call where Benzema says “they aren’t taking us seriously”, so the use of the word “us” suggests he’s involved with the gang – obviously they will need to present more evidence than that to prove it.
It’s clearly a messy situation and it’s claimed the Benzema defence isn’t going to be centered around claiming complete innocence, but trying to prove that undercover police officers hadn’t acted correctly and that may make the evidence inadmissible.
Benzema turns 34 later this year so a guilty sentence and jail term would essentially end his career so there’s a lot on the line here, while it’s believed that Valbuena will also be present for the trial.