Karim Benzema is ready for a difficult reunion with his compatriot Olivier Giroud after the two strikers were named to the France squad for Euro 2020.
Despite being one of the main strikers in the world, Benzema has not played for Les Bleus since 2015 after being embroiled in a public blackmail scandal.
However, Didier Deschamps has decided to recall the Madrid striker for the big tournament this summer, reinforcing France’s already exceptional attack.
Deschamps said: “Benzema and I met, we had a long discussion and then I thought a lot and made this decision.”
talkSPORT.com takes a look at the events of the past six years and why Benzema might need to team up with Chelsea striker Giroud…
What did Benzema say about Giroud?
Speaking on social media in 2020, Benzema was asked how he rates his other center-forward Giroud.
He said, “It won’t take long. You don’t confuse F1 with karting. And I am nice. Then… and I know I’m F1.
“It works because he’s there. That’s all. It won’t be spectacular, it won’t be anything crazy, but in its own way you see more of Griezmann or Mbappe because he will put the work in place.
“Does everyone like this way of playing? I do not know.”
Benzema then doubled down on his scathing assessment, adding: “About Giroud, I was just telling the truth.
“But we didn’t remember what I said about him, especially what he brought to the France team.
“We just remembered the moment I said I was in F1 and he was karting. This is what I think, it is the truth, and it is like that.
Giroud responded to this criticism by saying: “At the time, when I was unfairly criticized because of Karim’s absence, it hurt me.
“I continued to prove that I deserved my place and that this supposed rivalry with Karim had been created from nothing by some people.
“I have nothing to do with it, we’re just playing the same position. It happened but I reacted well to these difficulties.
Why didn’t Benzema play for France?
Although he played for Madrid for several years, Benzema’s international career had been put on hold for some time.
The Real ace has not played for France for six years after being involved in an alleged blackmail sex tape plot involving former teammate Mathieu Valbuena.
Giroud was the target of booing French supporters in the wake and spoke up after being taunted during the European Championship at home.
Speaking to Le Parisien in 2016, he said: “I immediately realized that the people who booed me were not anti-Giroud, but pro-Benzema.
“It could not be otherwise. I have just come from a great season with Arsenal. It was just disappointing.
“Yes, that annoyed me. I wasn’t even remotely responsible for this story and didn’t understand the kind of hatred that developed against me.
In November 2019, the president of the French Football Federation, Noel le Graet, seemed to put an end to any hope of recalling the French ace, Real Madrid’s fifth all-time top scorer.
He said: “For me, Benzema is a very good player. I have never criticized his qualities.
“On the contrary, he proves again this year in Madrid that he is one of the best players in his position.
“But the adventure with France is over.”
Who has the most goals for France?
Giroud has become Didier Deschamps’ essential striker, Benzema not having been able to take a look.
The Chelsea forward has scored 44 goals in 107 appearances, making him the country’s second-highest scorer of all time.
Benzema has played 81 times for his country with his last selection in 2015. He has scored 27 goals for Les Bleus.