What else is Real Madrid doing with Benzema

Among the shadows that France coach Didier Deschamps had to jump over were those cast by his own memories. For example: The memory of the days after an interview with Karim Benzema in 2016. Less than twelve months had passed since Benzema's banishment from the French national team, and the Real Madrid striker was in the Spanish newspaper Marca give free rein to his disappointment.

Deschamps had "bowed to the pressure of a racist part of France", said Benzema at the time - shortly afterwards Deschamps saw the word "racist" smeared on the wall of his summer residence. He saw himself and his family threatened - although the affair revolved around something that has little to do with racism: an alleged blackmail of the (now former) national player Mathieu Valbuena, which will be discussed later. "Certain things necessarily lead to verbal or physical aggression. I suffer from the consequences. We cannot forget that. I cannot forget that. I will never forget that," said Deschamps in January. And now? Now "France is above everything". At least that's what Deschamps, 52, said on Tuesday evening when he pardoned Benzema at prime time on TV. The striker, now 33 years old, is allowed to return to the European Championship Equipe Tricolore play along, including on June 15 in Munich against Germany.

"I am very proud," wrote Benzema on a social network, and it seemed as if he was actually moved. For the French, the comeback is a striking and disturbing sensation. On the other hand, it raises enormous hopes for a title that France won for the last time in the summer of 2000. Among others with Deschamps as a player.

The newspaper raved about a "golden triangle" L'Équipe after confirmation of Benzema's return. The reason: Deschamps can also fall back on privileged offensive forces such as Kylian Mbappé (Paris St.-Germain) and Antoine Griezmann (FC Barcelona), who are now to merge with Benzema. And then there is the possibility of using Kingsley Coman; Alongside Benjamin Pavard, Lucas Hernández and Corentin Tolisso, the winger is one of four players from the current Bayern squad that Deschamps called. Bayern access Dayot Upamecano (Leipzig), on the other hand, can go on vacation - unlike striker Marcus Thuram from Borussia Mönchengladbach. Thuram will probably have to line up behind Wissam Ben Yeeder (AS Monaco), Ousmane Dembélé (FC Barcelona) and Oliver Giroud (FC Chelsea). They complete an offensive arsenal that is probably unparalleled in Europe.

Benzema has always been an elegant, fascinating striker, since he left Cristiano Ronaldo (2018) he has become even more important at Real Madrid. This season alone he has scored 29 goals and provided eight assists. And he played himself so in the form of his life that Real coach Zinédine Zidane even knew how to conjugate his anger over the failure to consider Benzema: "You don't get it, I don't understand it, nobody understands it."

Real coach Zidane may have played an important role as an intermediary

Zidane is likely to have played an important role as mediator, his vita predestined him. He was world and European champion with Deschamps, they also played together at Juventus. On the other hand, Zidane can empathize with Benzema like few other people: Her roots are in the Maghreb; both know what marginalization can mean in France, neither have forgotten their origins. Deschamps said he spoke to Benzema for a long time. But maybe it was Zidane who made him believe it was time to say, "Everyone has the right to make mistakes." At least that's what Deschamps said on Tuesday; And last but not least, it was related to the Valbuena affair, which even brought Benzema a night in dungeon in 2015.

Some friends from the old days had come across a video showing Valbuena and his partner at marriage hygienic retreats. Benzema is said to have "advised" Valbuena to avoid a bigger "Oh, là là": that would work best if he paid 150,000 euros to the partners who had the video and could destroy it. Valbuena preferred to stop the spread with the help of law enforcement agencies - and also reported Benzema. Now there is a trial in Versailles in October for alleged extortion, Benzema is listed as a co-accused, he faces up to five years imprisonment. Until then, the presumption of innocence applies - and as long as the status as a football hopeful remains intact.

"It's a great decision," said association president Noël Le Graët, who used to weather Benzema and has now given permission to make a comeback. Also in the light of Giroud's jam and Griezmann's weakness of form. When and where he had spoken to Benzema, Deschamps did not want to reveal, not even about what. But he did make it clear that it was a very long conversation in which he forgave a lot.