Karim Benzema: “France needs him like it needs me.”

Téléfoot have today aired the second part of Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema’s interview. The first instalment appeared on TF1 on Wednesday as a segment in the 20:00 newscast.

Read the first part of the interview here.

On his future in the French national team…

Of course, that is my aim (to play again). That has always been my aim. To wear the French shirt.

On playing again with Mathieu Valbuena in the French national team…

Of course (that is my aim). That is what I want, I think that is what many people who love football want. He is a good player and France needs him like it needs me.

Mathieu Valbuena is annoyed with you. Are you annoyed with him?

No, I am not annoyed at him. Honestly, I am not.

Are you scared of not being able to play in EURO 2016?

I am not scared. I am not scared because there are too many things in life to feel scared. I know that this is something difficult, what is happening to me. The European Championships are a big thing.

I dream of playing in them like everybody else because not only are they the European Championships but they are in France as well. There you have it. Scared? No, I hope that things will quickly get back in order. And that I can participate in these European Championships.

Have you spoken to Didier Deschamps?

We messaged about the latest national team squad selection. He is behind me, supporting me. But in any case I speak often with him so…

Is Didier Deschamps supporting you?

Of course.

Have you received other forms of support?

My entire family, former players too. There are also players who are currently in the national team.

Just after La Marseillaise was performed ahead of a recent Real Madrid match, you appeared to spit on the pitch immediately after it ended. What is your reaction to this new supposed controversy?

I find the whole thing deplorable. It is rubbish to tell stories like that. To speak like that to say serious things. During La Marseillaise I am focused, concentrated thinking about what happened, about the victims. I am thinking about my family, I am thinking about the people that love me, about football. I am thinking about football and I am serious and sincere.

Then I spit at the end but I spit like in every match like all the players and I turn around. So at no moment whatsoever in my head I am thinking about spitting on La Marseillaise or things like that. It is deplorable to paint me as someone who does not respect the country, someone who does not respect the dead, that hurts. Those things are hurtful.

People reproach you for not singing La Marseillaise…

I am not even thinking about singing or not singing. It is not that. I am so focused and so proud to be in the French national team and I have memories, when I was watching players in TV, it feels like the 1998 World Cup when there was La Marseillaise etc. I see that, I have memories about that, I think about young people, about the youngsters who are watching me, I think about my entire family. I feel French. I feel the French national team shirt. Aside from that, people go too far to come up with controversies. People don’t actually care.

If it was obligatory to sing it?

If it was an obligation then I would sing it. In any case, I have always respected the rules.

What do you say to people who question your attachment to the French national team?

I have not played 81 times, wearing the French national team shirt, because I do not like being there. I am not crazy. I am attached to the French national team. I have been in the French national team for a long time and I want to win a title with my country.

How do you assess the risk that this situation poses to your entire career?

I have been playing for Real Madrid for seven years. Same for the French national team I have always fought hard. Aside from that, in terms of image, people are trying to destroy it. It is not a problem. I am still the same, I will always be the same.

With all these stories, how are you feeling today?

I am ok. I have a little girl who is growing up. Who makes me laugh. There you have it, I am working in a great club. Of course, moments like this come from time to time. I am calm. I am relaxed even if it is difficult.


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