The improbable is happening. Absent since the fall of 2015 from the France team following the Mathieu Valbuena sextape affair, Karim Benzema (33) is about to make his comeback. An unexpected about-face by Didier Deschamps, of which we do not yet have all the data. The two have likely made contact in recent weeks. The Madrilenian has surely apologized, in particular for his famous interview given to Marca on the eve of Euro 2016 in which he affirms that the coach “Gave in to a racist part of France.” A crime of lèse-majesté for DD who had never let it pass at the time. You have to believe that time is doing its work, water flows under the bridges and Deschamps knows how to forgive. As we have seen in the past, there is no lack of examples (Gignac, Ben Arfa, Rabiot).
During their recent phone calls, the boss of the Blues has surely given his conditions for a return of the striker, and some keys to make him enter into his game plan. Recalling Benzema without making him play would not make sense. Maybe they also remembered the good old days? The one where Didier Deschamps was loudly defending his best player of the moment, who crossed a huge desert without a goal in the France team. An eternity of 1222 minutes between his 15th achievement registered during a friendly against Estonia on June 5, 2012 and the 16th, on October 11, 2013 against Australia. In the meantime, a missed Euro has taken place, giving food to grind for the player’s detractors. They are not entirely wrong. When Deschamps took the job, Benzema was 25 years old and had a rather disappointing experience in the national team in view of his performances with Real and his potential.
Deschamps trusts Benzema despite crossing the desert
If it takes more than a year to finally find the net with the man who lifted the 1998 World Cup, it is also under his leadership that he has experienced his most prosperous period with the Blues. The machine starts up. 4 days after Australia, he scores against Finland in the Brazilian World Qualifiers. A month later, it is the famous dam against Ukraine. Disappointing in the first leg (2-0 defeat), like all of his partners, Benzema shines on the return, scoring the second goal in a 3-0 victory which will remain as the turning point of the Didier Deschamps era. Head to Brazil for what is to date the only World Cup contested by KB9. France is sluggish, but finishes first in a rather simple group, in particular thanks to the three goals of its striker (doubled against Honduras and one against Switzerland).
He will unfortunately remain silent in the 8th and quarterfinals against Nigeria and especially Germany, the fault of a cyborg named Neuer in the goal, future world champion. A promising start, but an end that remains through the throat, Benzema is still gaining strength in selection. He has finally scored in a big competition and seems to tailor a boss costume, which will be perfect for the Euro played at home. The only scorer against Ronaldo’s Portugal in the fall of 2014, he has won against Spain and Sweden, asserts himself as the technical leader of this team, of which he becomes one of the captains along with Lloris (already ) and Koscielny. In recent months, he has also taken under his wing the new shining newcomer, Antoine Griezmann. The two men get along wonderfully on and off the pitch.
A motorway traced towards Euro 2016
The two Madrilenians form with Valbuena the attacking trio of this 4-3-3 set up most often by Deschamps and the recipe works. Small bike lines up some interesting statistics despite being constantly questioned by the public. It is not uncommon to see him mark on an offering from Benzema, and vice versa. If the Blues fall in a prestigious friendly against Brazil in March 2015, they slowly continue their preparation for the Euro. They will win in Portugal in September then offer Serbia. A month later, France curls Armenia 4-0. Benzema delivers an assist for Griezmann then scores a brace before injuring himself and withdrawing for Denmark three days later. We never saw him again in the tricolor jersey. The counter stopped dead at 81 caps for 27 goals.
In Copenhagen, Olivier Giroud occupies the tip. It was his turn to score a double and the Blues won. He doesn’t know it yet, but he’ll never let go again. The case of the sextape will make its debut in a sensational way and Benzema disappears. Before the media storm, the France team was sailing in calm waters until the Euro, SON Euro, with its certainties and one of the best players in the world for a forward striker. In just over 3 years in office, Didier Deschamps had known how to trust a criticized Karim Benzema. Winner of his first Champions League a year earlier, the Madrilenian slowly took on another dimension with the Casa Blanca, after, there too, having wiped the plasters. Such a waste ! The two men had known how to trust each other and hoist each other upwards. It may not be too late to make up for this lost time …