Real Madrid have confirmed striker Karim Benzema has returned to training with the club and expressed their support after he was charged with complicity in an attempt to blackmail and participating in a criminal conspiracy as part of an investigation into an alleged sex-tape plot involving France team-mate Mathieu Valbuena.
The 27-year-old spent Wednesday night in custody in Versailles after giving himself up for questioning and was on Thursday charged after being put before a judge on allegations he was part of a plan to blackmail the Lyon midfielder.
Benzema and Valbuena cannot meet until the Lyon midfielder has given his version of events to investigators – prompting France coach Didier Deschamps to omit both players from his squad for the upcoming friendlies with Germany and England.
Later on Thursday, Madrid confirmed Benzema was back with the club and trained individually in a session as he continues to recover from the hamstring injury that has kept him out of action since France’s win over Armenia on October 8.
In an additional statement, the club also revealed the player had held talks with president Florentino Perez, who assured him he could rely on their full support during the legal process.
“Karim Benzema trained at Real Madrid City, where he completed an evening session on his own,” read the club’s media release.
“The forward, who is still recovering from injury, jogged around the training pitch and carried out various exercises with and without the ball.
“Karim Benzema has given his statement to the French authorities. The president of Real Madrid, Florentino Perez, has held a meeting with the player in which he expressed his full support and belief in his innocence.
“The club is sure of his professionalism, values and commitment which he demonstrated during the six years that he has been part of Real Madrid.”
The player’s lawyer, Sylvain Cormier, has denied his client had any involvement in the alleged plot and is confident he will soon clear his name.