Valbuena hurt by how France career ended

Mathieu Valbuena says he was hurt by the way his France career ended so abruptly.

The Fenerbahce midfielder was a regular with France but has not played for his country since 2015, having been the victim of an alleged blackmail plot involving team-mate Karim Benzema.

France's Court of Cassation backed Benzema's complaint against the police investigation in July 2017, prompting the player's lawyer to suggest the case could be thrown out.

Although Valbuena has since been able to move on with his career, he still rues how his time in the international set-up concluded.

"I was very affected by what happened with France," he told France Football. "I was discarded overnight. I did not have five caps but 52.

"Today, it's behind me, it's no longer a problem. But I had hoped for a different ending."

Despite his exile, Valbuena is hopeful that France can win this year's World Cup, despite their mixed fortunes in recent friendly fixtures, which included a 3-2 defeat to Colombia

"It would be nice to lift the trophy 20 years after the victory of 1998," he said.

"In any case, I can assure you that the preparation matches have nothing to do with World Cup matches.

"I know that players will ramp up during the competition and raise their level. I'm not worried about that."

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