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Zidane hails Benzema’s potential France return as ‘good news’



The Real Madrid striker hasn’t featured for Les Bleus in more than five years but could be back in the picture soon 

Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane says it is “good news” that Karim Benzema may make a return to the French national team.

Benzema has not played for Les Bleus since November 2015, when he earned the last of his 81 caps.

The Real Madrid star has since been excluded from the national team program with the striker facing trial over a blackmail case relating to a sex tape said to involved former France team-mate Mathieu Valbuena.

As part of that case, Benzema is accused of trying to extort money from the Olympiacos star ahead of a friendly against Armenia five years ago.

Michel Moulin, one of the candidates running against incumbent FFF president Noel Le Graet, has promised that he would work to bring Benzema back to the France team.

And Zidane, who has offered his “complete support” to the striker amid his off-the-field issue, says he would look forward to seeing Benzema’s return.

“That Benzema can return to the France team is good news,” he said in a press conference on Wednesday.

ZIdane also spoke of another forward currently on the books at Real Madrid, Luka Jovic.

The striker is set to leave the Bernabeu on loan this month and return to former club Eintracht Frankfurt.

Jovic has scored just two goals in 32 appearances since moving to Real Madrid, but Zidane says he still believes the young striker can develop into a solid player.

“Jovic is a striker who scores goals, it is his characteristic,” he said. “He’s 21 years old, we understand only that. It’s what we want from him.

“He has had no luck, he has had difficulties, adaptation, injuries. At 21 it is not easy. You must learn from many things.”

Real Madrid are currently second in La Liga, trailing rivals Atletico Madrid by four points having also played two games more.

Before they return to league play, Zidane’s side will face Athletic Club in the Supercopa de Espana semi-final on Thursday.

“When we do a little worse there are always criticisms, and it won’t change,” Zidane said. “In a season there are ups and downs but we always try to do better, that is what we are going to try tomorrow.

“We hope that the season will get better little by little.”