Karim Benzema crowns national team comeback with France Football Player of the Year award

Benzema edged out two previous winners, Kylian Mbappe and N’Golo Kante, in the France Football poll announced on Friday

Karim Benzema has scored nine goals for France since his return. PA

Paris: Karim Benzema crowned his surprising rehabilitation with the Blues by being named Soccer Francenational player of the year.

The Real Madrid striker has been recalled by French manager Didier Deschamps after he was let go by him at the end of 2015 following a scandal involving a sex tape featuring a former team-mate.

“It’s been almost six years since I last played, I had to fumble around a bit, watch, adapt. It didn’t take long,” said Benzema, who turned 34 in December, to France Football in an interview published on Saturday. .

Benzema edged out two previous winners, Kylian Mbappe and N’Golo Kante, in the France Football poll announced on Friday, despite receiving a one-year suspended sentence in November.

Benzema is appealing his conviction for aiding and abetting in a bid to blackmail former France team-mate Mathieu Valbuena with a sex tape.

Benzema has scored nine goals for France since his return.

Filling the role of a traditional central striker, he has integrated well with the other two forwards, Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann.

“I find myself in the best circumstances” in the France team, he confided Soccer France, claiming that the partnership with Mbappe and Griezmann is ‘working well’ and has turned out even ‘better’ than when he first returned last summer.

“Now when one goes down, the other goes long, and vice versa. That’s better,” he said.

Benzema scored four European Championship goals, including a pair as the world champions were surprisingly knocked out in the round of 16 by Switzerland, who responded with two late goals to draw 3-3 and then won at the shoot to the net.

He ended the calendar year on a high, scoring five goals in four international matches as France bounced back by winning the Nations League and finishing a successful World Cup qualifying campaign.

“I just have to stay at this level,” he said. “Now we have to win collective trophies,” he said.

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