Arsene Wenger has backed the French Football Federation’s (FFF) decision to suspend Karim Benzema from international duty until the sex-tape scandal involving Mathieu Valbuena is resolved.
FFF president Noel Le Graet announced on Thursday that the Real Madrid star will not be considered for selection for France while a police investigation is ongoing – meaning he could miss next year’s European Championship on home soil.
Benzema has been charged with complicity in an attempt to blackmail and participating in a criminal conspiracy as part of a probe into a sex-tape plot involving international team-mate Valbuena. Benzema denies the charges.
The 27-year-old took to Twitter on Friday to say he respects the FFF’s decision, and Arsenal boss Wenger agrees with the governing body’s stance.
When asked about the issue in Friday’s pre-match media conference ahead of Arsenal’s game against Aston Villa, Wenger replied: “I think it’s a legal case, and as long as it has not been judged, you have to wait for the judgement.
“At the moment he cannot play because he is under investigation and as long as he is not cleared, he should not play.”
Arsenal have been persistently linked with a potential move for Benzema, but Wenger – who was effusive in his praise of Olivier Giroud during his media briefing – refused to be drawn on whether the Valbuena affair makes the former Lyon man a less attractive transfer target.
“I just said that Olivier Giroud is a great striker, so behind that we cannot buy Karim Benzema!” he added.