Zidane France can’t afford to ignore Karim Benzema 2016 imagesZinedine Zidane has urged the French football governing body to allow Karim Benzema’s participation at the European Championship in France in the summer.

The French striker Karim Benzema has been suspended by the French Football Federation until the legal investigation into his involvement in an alleged plot to blackmail international team-mate Mathieu Valbuena has been concluded.

“France cannot afford to ignore a player of Benzema’s calibre,” Zidane told Le Foot.

The 1998 World Cup winner with France is now the head coach at Real Madrid. Benzema is amongst the most influential players in the Los Blancos line-up and Zidane is certain that the striker would make an impact for Les Blues in the summer tournament.

He added: “When we look at his numbers and everything he does on the field, we cannot let a player of this level go.”

The FFF President Noel Le Graet also believes that the 28-year-old made a stupid mistake but he deserves another chance.

“Maybe I have protected Karim excessively in this matter, but I really like him and we all make mistakes,” Le Graet told Paris Breizh Media.

“He got carried away by stupidity in this case. He has been stupid like a donkey. But I don’t believe in lecturing people.

“There are good and bad people in all environments, among teachers, among businessmen, anywhere.

“Benzema comes from a difficult environment and he got carried away.

“Karim is a guy I really like. People talk to me about the way he expresses himself, but we take everyone as they are. Football is like that.”

“Those who say it has been badly managed, that is their problem.

“We are straight-up people in the Federation despite the fact we are often attacked.

Le Graet claimed that he likes Benzema but isn’t a dishonest person. According to him, the Real Madrid forward has had a difficult childhood and thus he is close to him.

“This case is disappointing and it hurts us and, yes, there is affection [for Benzema]. But because I love him it’s like I have become dishonest.

“But I manage this situation as I see fit. I’ve always been pretty close to Benzema because I knew about his childhood difficulties.

“Maybe I have that side of me. But I have never seen such media treatment. Never.”

France are the hosts of Euro 2016 and are among the favourites to win it. Didier Deschamps will definitely pick Karim Benzema in the starting line-up at the tournament if he becomes available for selection.

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