Benzema forces his way back into France squad


France have announced their Euro 2020 squad, with Real Madrid forward Karim Benzema receiving his first call-up in six years.

Benzema was dropped from the national team after being accused of attempting to blackmail teammate Mathieu Valbuena in 2015. For many years it seemed unlikely that he would return to the fray.

However, after an incredible few of seasons for Real – he has managed over 60 goals in his last three La Liga campaigns – Didier Deschamps has finally selected him again.

Benzema joins a talented side that are among the favourites for the tournament.

The sensational Kylian Mbappe, Paul Pogba and Antoine Griezmann are among the standout stars. Mbappe in particular goes into the European Championships in red hot form, netting 26 Ligue 1 goals in 30 games this season.

Meanwhile, Manchester United forward Anthony Martial has been omitted having missed the last few weeks of the season with injury.

Les Bleus reached the final of Euro 2016, falling at the last hurdle to Portugal. The pair will reconvene their rivalry in Group F this time out. Germany and Hungary are France’s other opponents in what has been dubbed this summer’s group of death.

France also have tournament pedigree, going all the way in the 2018 World Cup where they beat Croatia in the final.

France’s 26-man squad

Goalkeepers: Hugo Lloris (Tottenham), Steve Mandanda (Marseille), Mike Maignan (Lille)

Defenders: Leo Dubois (Lyon), Benjamin Pavard (Bayern Munich), Kurt Zouma (Chelsea), Jules Koundé (Sevilla), Raphael Varane (Real Madrid), Clement Lenglet (Barcelona), Presnel Kimpembe (PSG), Lucas Digne (Everton), Lucas Hernandez (Bayern Munich)

Midfielders: N’Golo Kanté (Chelsea), Paul Pogba (Manchester United), Adrien Rabiot (Juventus), Corentin Tolisso (Bayern Munich), Moussa Sissoko (Tottenham)

Forwards: Karim Benzema (Real Madrid), Olivier Giroud (Chelsea), Kylian Mbappé (PSG), Marcus Thuram (Borussia Monchengladbach), Kingsley Coman (Bayern Munich), Wissam Ben Yedder (AS Monaco), Antoine Griezmann (Barcelona), Thomas Lemar (Atletico Madrid), Ousmane Dembélé (Barcelona)

RELATED STORY: Trial date set for Benzema blackmail case

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