Karim Benzema is set for a shock recall to France’s squad for this summer’s European Championships.
The Real Madrid striker hasn’t feature for his country since 2015 after an alleged involvement in an attempt to blackmail his former Les Bleus teammate Mathieu Valbuena.
But Le Parisien report that he will be named in Didier Deschamps’ 26-man squad for the Euros, which will be announced on Tuesday, after an impressive campaign with the Galacticos.
Benzema’s international exile has been met with fierce criticism from the France support as they have lashed out at Deschamps’ no.1 striker Olivier Giroud, as result.
It’s claimed there is an ongoing rivalry between the strikers which the Madrid talisman fuelled as he made those infamous “go-kart” comments.
Talking about his comparisons with Giroud, he said: “This won’t take long. You don’t confuse F1 with go-karting. And I’m being kind. Next… and I know I’m F1.
“It works because he’s there. That’s all. It’s not going to be spectacular, it’s not going to be anything crazy but in his way you see more of Griezmann or Mbappe because he will put the work in.
“Does everyone like that way of playing? I don’t know.”
Benzema later doubled down on his scathing assessment, adding: “About Giroud, I simply told the truth.
“But we didn’t remember what I said about him, especially about what he brings to the French national team.
“We just remembered the moment when I said I was F1 and he was karting. That’s what I think, that’s the truth, and that’s how it is.”
As Benzema looks set to return to the fold, he could partner Olivier Giroud in France’s attack which could be problematic after his swipe at the Chelsea man.
But former Arsenal forward Giroud has poured cold water over any bad blood between the pair and insists he has a lot of respect for him.
He told RMC Sport, via Goal.com : “At the time, when I was unfairly criticised because of Karim’s absence, it hurt me.
“I continued to prove that I deserved my place and that this supposed rivalry with Karim was created from scratch by some people.
“I had nothing to do with it, we just play the same position. It happened but I reacted well to these difficulties.
“Clearly, it’s a shame, because Karim remains an impressive player for his qualities,” he continued.
“Me, I never had a dispute with him, history wanted us to be opposed. I’ve always had a good understanding with him, a lot of mutual respect … at least from me towards him.
“I think it’s a shame everything that has happened, it’s kind of a mess, but now we have to move on. The English envy us a lot over this young generation which is growing up.”