Benzema recalled by France coach Deschamps for Euro 2020

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PARIS (AP) — France coach Didier Deschamps recalled forward Karim Benzema after nearly six years out for his alleged part in a “sex tape" scandal, including the Real Madrid star in his squad for the European Championship.

The 33-year-old Benzema played the last of his 81 games for Les Bleus in October 2015, scoring twice in a friendly against Armenia to take his international tally to 27 goals.

He was then banned from the national team because of a “sex tape” scandal in which Benzema was allegedly involved in blackmailing former France teammate Matthieu Valbuena.

Benzema faced a deluge of criticism, and then-Prime Minister Manuel Valls said the forward had no place in the national team.

Benzema, who is of Algerian descent, had a good relationship with Deschamps. But in an interview, he had accused Deschamps of giving in to pressure from racists when the coach decided not to include him in the squad for Euro 2016.

Deschamps said he had spoken directly with Benzema to clear the air.

Benzema has been in arguably the best form of his career, scoring 29 goals in 45 games this season.

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Jerome Pugmire, The Associated Press