France striker Karim Benzema has spoken of his frustration at being “treated like a criminal” as he reiterated his denial of any wrongdoing in the Mathieu Valbuena sex-tape case.
Benzema is facing charges of conspiracy to blackmail over an alleged extortion attempt involving a sex-tape of the Lyon playmaker.
The Real Madrid star denies the charges and his agent Sylvain Cormier has protested his client’s innocence, saying he is “absolutely calm and beyond reproach”.
The French Football Federation has confirmed its own legal action over the case, with parties in French law able to make claims for compensation if they feel they have suffered damage or injury.
Benzema himself spoke out about the case on TF1 on Wednesday and revealed his disappointment at how he has been portrayed, as well as providing his version of events.
Benzema said: “I am being accused in every way, as if I was a criminal. It is horrible.
“What happened? It is simple. I have heard there is a video about him and I have told him. I told him I could help him because I have a friend in Lyon who can manage these problems.
“I told him that if he had told his family already, he could let this go. I told him I have experienced these sort of things in the past.
“We never spoke about money. I earn a good living and when I help someone, I don’t expect anything back.
“Valbuena thanked me the day I told him. What I do regret though, is this conversation with [my friend Karim] Zenati. I regret it because we laughed. I think it was understandable. It was spontaneous. I would have liked to be able to get in contact with Valbuena to apologise.
“I don’t know the people that blackmailed him. The only one I know is Karim Zenati. He had his past and went to prison, but he started a new life since.
“I don’t even understand why I have been in custody and why they dirtied my name when I was the one who wanted to be heard. I don’t understand.”
Didier Deschamps left both players out of his party for France’s friendly games with Germany and England in November, though Benzema was still recovering from a hamstring problem.
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