Former Real Madrid defender Alvaro Arbeloa has slammed France manager Didier Deschamps for not selecting Real forward Karim Benzema in his Euro 2016 squad.
France blitzed through the tournament with ease, with five wins and a draw leading them to Sunday’s final against Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal. However, their free-scoring form deserted them and Portugal – who lost the 2004 European Championships final on home soil to Greece – were able to repay the favour to Les Bleus, thanks to Eder’s fantastic strike in extra-time.
France had plenty of chances to win the game in normal time, but they appeared wasteful with the goal at their mercy. The tournament’s top scorer, Antoine Griezmann, couldn’t convert two headers, while Andre-Pierre Gignac was denied the paludits of a 90th minute winner by the post.
And that lack of a killer instinct was picked up by Arbeloa – who recently left the club for a second time, having reached 237 appearances in all competitions – who took to Twitter to criticise Deschamps for leaving his former teammate Benzema at home.
The 33-year-old tweeted: “That’s what you get for leaving the world’s best No. 9 at home.”
Madrid forward Benzema – who has 27 goals for France in 81 international appearances – was controversially left out of France’s Euro 2016 squad after he was charged by police in November, following his involvement in an alleged attempt to blackmail former French teammate Mathieu Valbuena over a sex tape.
Lyon winger Valbuena has been capped 52 times by his country and, despite Deschamps claiming he was left out because of fitness concerns after suffering calf, thigh and hip injuries during the season, this scandal will also have contributed towards him missing out on representing the host nation at Euro 2016.
It wasn’t all bad in the tweet from Arbeloa though – as he followed up his statement about Benzema with: “Congratulations Portugal, Cristiano Ronaldo and Pepe.”