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Karim Benzema could return to French squad after judge lifts restrictions

Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema is back in contention to be in the France squad for Euro 2016 after a judge lifted restrictions on the 28-year-old.

Benzema had been banned from contacting his international team-mate Mathieu Valbuena after being charged in connection with a plot to blackmail the Lyon midfielder over a sex tape.

Benzema remains under investigation but the Court of Appeal of Versailles has lifted some of the restrictions on the striker – the most important that he is now allowed to contact Valbuena.

The French Football Federation suspended Benzema in December for his involvement in the case, but is yet to release any statement on whether he will be welcomed back into the squad.

Manager Didier Deschamps has previously stated that he would be happy to include Benzema back into the squad, depending on the circumstances.

“As of today, he is still not available so I cannot select him,” Deschamps said in February. “It would need my president to decide (he can play) and for the law to give a positive answer as well.

“If I found myself in that situation, I would consider it and make my decision. Things can change. From a sporting point of view, I want to have the best team and therefore the best players. But in this case, there is also a judicial panel. We have to see how things develop.”

Benzema may yet have to appear in front of an ethics committee. He has been charged with complicity in attempted blackmail and participation in a criminal association planning.

The offence carries a minimum sentence of five years in prison.



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