Real’s Benitez backs Benzema over sextape scandal

Published 11/07/2015, 9:05 AM EST
Real Madrid coach Rafa Benitez reacts before their Spanish first division soccer match against Athletic Bilbao at San Mames stadium in Bilbao, northern Spain, September 23, 2015. REUTERS/Vincent West/Files


MADRID (Reuters) – Real Madrid coach Rafa Benitez has given his full support to Karim Benzema over his involvement in a sextape scandal but the French strtiker will not be fit to face Sevilla in La Liga on Sunday.

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The club are standing by Benzema who was put under formal judicial investigation on Thursday in connection with an alleged attempt to blackmail Olympique Lyonnais forward Mathieu Valbuena with the use of a sex video.

President Florentino Perez has expressed his confidence that Benzema’s actions were in good faith and that he is completely innocent.

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“I have spoken to him but as he is not going to play I don’t want to talk too much about it. He has my total support,” Benitez told a news conference.

“I hope he gets fit quickly and can get back to enjoying playing on the pitch.

“He is in the final part of his recovery and we have decided to leave him out so that he can be 100 percent and return fresh. He is in good spirits.”

Benzema injured his hamstring playing for France last month and has missed the last five matches for Real.

Real are joint top of La Liga with Barcelona on 24 points from 10 games but Benitez has come under pressure for the lack of entertaining football.

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He is, however, boosted by the return of Gareth Bale from injury for a difficult away game against Sevilla even though the Andalusian side have not been playing at their best and lie in 11th place on 12 points.

It is the final La Liga match before the international break and Real then face arch-rivals Barca at the Bernabeu on Nov. 21.

“My main concern at the moment is the match against Sevilla and so I am not thinking too much about El Clasico,” said Benitez.

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“It will be a difficult stadium to play in because the Sevilla fans give a lot of support and it is great team. Especially in the last few years they have shown their strengths in the Europa League.”

(Reporting by Tim Hanlon in Barcelona, editing by Ed Osmond)

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Dhruv George

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Dhruv George is a senior Formula One and NASCAR analyst for EssentiallySports, having authored nearly 12000 articles spanning different sports like F1, NASCAR, Tennis, NFL, and eSports. He graduated with a PG Diploma in Journalism from the Xavier Institute of Communications. Dhruv has also conducted interviews with F1 driver Pierre Gasly and Moto2 rider Tony Arbolino.

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