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Karim Benzema set for France return at Euro 2020 after six-year exile

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By | Football

France's Karim Benzema celebrates scoring a goal [Courtesy]

Karim Benzema is set to complete one of the more remarkable U-turns in international football and be named in France's squad for Euro 2020.

The Real Madrid forward hasn't played for France since 2015 after his alleged role in a sex-tape scandal surrounding his former international teammate Mathieu Valbuena.

Reports in France claim that the 33-year-old will be called up to the squad by manager Didier Deschamps, having missed out on the sides that reached the final of Euro 2016 and won the World Cup in 2018.

Fans on social media spotted that the forward had added that he was a France player to his bios on both Twitter and Instagram amid suggestions that he would get the call from Deschamps, who is due to confirm the decision on Tuesday.

Benzema has been in superb form for Real Madrid this season, scoring 29 goals in 45 appearances in all competitions.

He has netted 27 goals in 81 games for France, with his most recent strike coming in a friendly against Armenia in October 2015.

France's forward Karim Benzema kicks the ball during the Group E football match between Ecuador and France at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro during the 2014 FIFA World Cup on June 25, 2014. [AFP, Franck Fife]

One player who may not be too happy to see Benzema will be Chelsea's Olivier Giroud, who has been on the end of some pointed barbs from his fellow forward over the years.

Asked to rate Giroud last year, Benzema said on social media: “This won’t take long. You don’t confuse F1 with go-karting. And I’m being kind. Next… and I know I’m F1.

“It [the team] works because he’s there. That’s all. It’s not going to be spectacular, it’s not going to be anything crazy but in his way you see more of [Antoine] Griezmann or [Kylian] Mbappe because he will put the work in.

“Does everyone like that way of playing? I don’t know.”

Deschamps has overlooked Benzema ever since he first was suspected of encouraging Valbuena to co-operate with blackmailers after they threatened to release an intimate video of him.

Investigators alleged Benzema was working with a childhood friend to convince Valbuena, who informed the police.

His two day trial over the allegations, which he denies, is set to take place in October.

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