Karim Benzema is facing a criminal trial for attempted blackmail of fellow France star Mathieu Valbuena.
Benzema was arrested back in 2015 and placed under formal investigation having been alleged to blackmail Valbuena over a sex tape.
It has been claimed that the Real Madrid ace played an intermediary role in the case, supposedly acting on behalf of a childhood friend.
Following plenty of investigations, a court ruled last year that there had been no “breach of fairness”, overruling an opinion made in 2017.
With no further appeal permitted by Benzema, the file returned to the office of an investigating judge.
And it has been decided that the case will go to a criminal trial with Valbuena allegedly previously claiming he was the victim of an attempted blackmail.
The case has had a huge impact on Benzema’s career with the Real Madrid star having been frozen out by the French national team ever since his indictment in 2015.
Benzema has frequently defended himself and said in 2017: “There's really something wrong with him [Valbuena]… it's all part of his story.
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“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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The forward, who is of Algerian descent, asked France to free him so he can represent another country, though no reprieve has been offered.
French Football Federation president Noel le Graet said: “For me, Benzema is a very good player. I have never criticised his qualities.
“On the contrary, he is proving again this year at Madrid that he is one of the best players in his position. But the adventure with France is over.”
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