Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema lashed out at his former international teammate Mathieu Valbuena on Tuesday, laying the blame for the fallout of a sex tape scandal squarely on the shoulders of the alleged victim.
Both men missed the Euro 2016 tournament on home soil after an investigation was launched into alleged blackmail in a sex-tape scandal which is likely to go to court in France later this year.
Investigators suspect Benzema of acting as an intermediary between the presumed blackmailers, including one of his childhood friends, and Lyon midfielder Valbuena.
But in an interview published online by French sports daily L’Equipe on Tuesday, Benzema went as far as accusing Valbuena of lying just two days ahead of France naming their squad for upcoming 2018 World Cup qualifiers.
“He called me scum, said I’d threatened him, made up all kinds of stuff,” said Benzema, who remains in international exile with his last France appearance in October 2015.
“He’s dragged me through the dirt and sullied my family name,” he said. “He’s got to stop this nonsense.
“He’s really got to stop making things up. His continued lying is driving me mad. It all came from him this sex-tape business. All he had to say was the truth about what really happened.”
The 29-year-old Benzema is in his eighth season at Real Madrid and is widely viewed as one of the best centre forwards in Europe.
“I’d be delighted to play in blue again,” he added. “I’d always play for France with the same enthusiasm.”