Real Madrid forward Karim Benzema is closer to a return for France and a possible call up for the European Championships this summer after a ban was lifted on him communicating with team mate Matieu Valbuena.
The Los Blancos forward is involved in a case of attempted blackmail against the Lyon midfielder. He was charged last autumn for his involvement in trying to extort money from Valbuena to destroy a sex tape featuring the midfielder.
Under the terms of his judicial supervision, Benzema was forbidden from contacting Valbuena. He was dropped from the France squad for the friendlies against Germany and England in November and was then handed a suspension by the French FA until the trial is over. Noel Le Graet, president of the French FA, said the suspension could be overturned if Benzema and Valbuena could communicate again.
Last month a judge lifted the ban preventing him from communicating with Valbuena. And that decision has been upheld on appeal, paving the way for Benzema to be recalled to Didier Deschamp’s side.
Olivier Combe, one of Benzema’s legal team, was quoted by L’Equipe as saying: “The Versailles appeals court confirmed the decision of the investigating judge, which allows Karim Benzema to meet Mathieu Valbuena.”
Sylvian Cormier, one of Benzema’s lawyers, added: “Common sense has reasserted itself. This decision lifts the legal obstacles that could have existed.”