The Karim Benzema story has been controversial to say the least, and has captured the attention of every football fan in Europe. In between the controversy has remained one vital question that has been on the lips of everyone in France this year, and that is whether Karim Benzema will be going to the European Championships this summer. For a while, the the French Football Federation (FFF) denied Benzema access to the French national squad, but he has now been available for selection for a few months. However France boss Didier Deschamps has refused to select the forward, for obvious reasons.
If we are to really take a look at the French national squad, names jump off the list in terms of attacking options. Andre Pierre Gignac, Anthony Martial, Antoine Griezmann, Olivier Giroud, Dimitry Payet, Alexandre Laceztte, Kinglsey Coman, to name but a few. After taking a quick look at the players named, it begs the question “Do France even need Karim Benzema?” Well no, they don’t.
If Deschamps was to take Benzema (which is highly unlikely at the time of writing) who drops out? You can’t drop Griezmann because he is the most talented, Giroud is a better team player, Gignac has been on top form ever since leaving Marseille (despite playing in the Mexican league), and Martial has pace to burn. So where exactly would Benzema even start?
The team is good enough without him – they don’t need him on the field – but most importantly they don’t need or want him off the field either. For once, France do not have any off-field issues to contend with amongst their players. The group is settled, the players and staff look happy together, and there seems to be no risk of a mass player walkout similar to 2010. It would make no sense to bring in Benzema, who would change the mood of the camp instantly – especially if a certain Mathieu Valbuena is involved.
For Benzema himself, there isn’t much he can do. He can play as well as humanly possibly between now and when the France squad is announced, but his name will not be associated to football for a while regardless of whether he is innocent or guilty. It would be advisable to Didier Deschamps not to pick the Real Madrid striker in any of his squads, and considering how healthy the squad is now Benzema can only do more harm than good at this point in time.