France return for Benzema would be 'difficult'

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Karim Benzema should not expect to return to the international fold any time soon, French Football Federation (FFF) president Noel Le Graet has said.

Real Madrid striker Benzema has been out of the France set-up since October 2015 having become embroiled in a scandal involving an alleged attempt to blackmail Mathieu Valbuena over a sex tape.

Having seen the Court of Cassation - the country's court of final appeals in civil and criminal proceedings - boost his defence by ruling in his favour in July, the 29-year-old last month spoke of his desire to return for Les Bleus.

France coach Didier Deschamps said it was "boring" to be frequently asked about whether he would pick Benzema ahead of the 2018 World Cup, and Le Graet suggested the former Lyon forward should not get his hopes up.

"You would have to be blind or deaf to not understand that Benzema will be difficult to select right now. It seems to be incontestable to me," the FFF chief told RMC.

"We must also say that there are a number of talented players in attack, so the problem is perhaps less so than a few years ago.

"Deschamps picked him a lot during years when he was not brilliant in the French team."

Regardless of whether Benzema is included in Deschamps' squad for the competition in Russia, Le Graet has already outlined to the coach and players what he expects.

"I told Didier and the players that we were in the quarter-finals in Brazil after a complicated period, we were in the final of Euro 2016, we must be in the final four," he said.

"I trust Didier and I'm sure we're going to have a good World Cup and the coach has to have all the power during it."