Karim Benzema’s agent has hit out at what he perceives as a “hatred” of the striker.
Benzema was suspended from international duty by the French Football Federation (FFF) on Thursday as a result of an ongoing legal investigation.
FFF president Noel Le Graet announced that Benzema will not be considered by France until the investigation into an alleged blackmail plot involving international team-mate Mathieu Valbuena is concluded.
The Real Madrid forward has been charged with complicity in an attempt to blackmail and participating in a criminal conspiracy as part of an investigation into a sex-tape plot involving Valbuena. Benzema denies the charges.
And, while accepting the suspension, Benzema’s representative, Karim Djaziri, is critical of attitudes towards his client.
“There is a form of hatred against Karim because of his origins,” he told RMC. “I’ve heard it said that he does not like France. You don’t play 81 times for the French team if you don’t like France.
“He has had to make a difficult choice. He might have played for Algeria, the land of his parents, or the country of his birth, France. He chose France and has proudly represented them 81 times.
“He’s a good looking, young, rich footballer of Maghreb and Muslim descent. He crystallises many things.
“There will be people who don’t like the left, the right, the old, the young and Benzema has many attributes that attract this form of hate.”
Discussing the suspension specifically, Djaziri told BMF TV: “Of course I understand. The president is obliged to make a decision.
“[Benzema is] serene, he knows he has done nothing. He wanted to help a friend. That friend will appreciate and he knows it too. I sincerely believe that there are things much more important than this non-case. It has to stop! If you want, you can restore the death penalty in France for Karim.”
Benzema faces missing out on Euro 2016, which is set to be held in France, unless the legal investigation is concluded before the start of the tournament. Valbuena is available for selection after Le Graet said the Lyon midfielder is “guilty of nothing”.
Madrid also released a statement following the announcement of Benzema’s suspension from the France national team.
The club said: “Real Madrid regrets, but respects the decision taken by the French Football Federation to provisionally suspend Karim Benzema from the France national team, and wishes to reiterate once more its support for and confidence in the player.”