Mathieu Valbuena on Karim Benzema dropping appeal in blackmail affair: “I can finally move on.”

In an interview with RMC Sport, Olympiacos midfielder Mathieu Valbuena has discussed the end of his legal battle with Karim Benzema, after the latter decided to drop his appeal over his one-year suspended sentence for complicity in blackmail.

“It’s true that I was also tired of all of this and I’ve suffered a lot from it. I’ve definitely been penalised by it in a sporting sense. It’s a chapter which is finally ending. For me it lasted far too long but that’s how justice works. I can finally move on. I’m not bitter at all and I’ve always said what I had to, regarding what happened. I’m not going to go back on this long story but the most important thing for me is to turn the page.”

“[On what it cost him] My place in the France team. Euro 2016 [which Valbuena missed] was in France. I was a victim in this case, I’ll say it again, when I received anonymous phone calls from those people who wanted to blackmail me. I didn’t know who was on the end of the line so I took the process all the way. As everyone knows, it penalised me a lot in the sporting sense and also in my private life. There were difficult moments after which I was able to get back up. […] I would have liked to finish my France career in another way but that’s how it was. That’s how it is, it’s my career.”

“[On Benzema’s agent saying the reality of the situation is different to the legal truth] It’s their defence. The fact that they are dropping the appeal says quite a few things in my eyes, but then to each their own opinion. For me the most important thing is to be able to move on, because 7 years is a long time. I’m not angry, I’m not bitter against anyway, everyone can simply go off on their merry way.”

“It would not be honest to say he doesn’t deserve the Ballon d’Or. Yes, he deserves the Ballon d’Or. I can objectively speak about football and I can also talk about something which has happened before. Either we talk about football or what happens off the pitch.”

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