Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema has been named in France’s 26-man squad for the 2021 European Championship (Euro 2020) after an absence of nearly six years.

Benzema has not played for his country since 2015 as a result of his alleged involvement in an attempted blackmail case involving an ex-France teammate. The 33-year-old missed France’s Euro 2016 campaign and 2018 FIFA World Cup win as a result of the allegations.

In January 2021, French prosecutors announced Benzema would face trial.

He is accused of paying individuals to extort money from midfielder Mathieu Valbuena by threatening to make a sex tape public in 2015, but the striker argues a police officer used dishonest methods to draw him into the situation.

After confirming Benzema was in his squad, France manager Didier Deschamps said: “The most important is today and tomorrow.

“There were important steps. We saw each other. We discussed [this] at length. I had a long reflection to come to this decision. I won’t reveal a word of the discussion, that concerns us. I needed it, he needed it”.

Hugo Lloris and Moussa Sissoko of Tottenham Hotspur, Everton left-back Lucas Digne, Chelsea’s Kurt Zouma, Olivier Giroud and N’Golo Kante are the players from the Premier League to have received call-ups although none of these names are a surprise.

Manchester United star Paul Pogba was a certainty as well but his teammate Anthony Martial was left out of the squad and it is no surprise given the poor season he had before being ruled out by injury.

Benzema has scored 27 goals in 81 appearances for France, including his last coming for the national team during a 4-0 friendly win over Armenia when he bagged a brace.

Didier Deschamps

France head coach Didier Deschamps announced France’s 26-man squad for Euro 2020. (Photo by FRANCK FIFE/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

He has been one of Real Madrid’s standout players this season, scoring 29 goals and providing eight assists in all competitions.

The Spanish champions are hoping to retain their La Liga title but are currently behind leaders Atletico Madrid who just need a win in their last game to secure the crown for the first time in 7 years.

Now in his 12th year at the Bernabeu, Benzema was recently voted the best French player playing abroad by France’s National Union of Professional Football Players.

The striker will add to Deschamps’ already impressive attacking options of Paris Saint-Germain’s Kylian Mbappe and Barcelona’s Antoine Griezmann when Euro 2020 starts on 11th June. The world champions will be keen on becoming European champions as they are already through to the Nations League semifinals as well.

Les Bleus made it to the final of the tournament on five years ago in France but lost to Portugal in extra time that started Portugal’s domination in European international football.

France are in the so-called “Group of Death” in Group F of the European Championship that features Hungary, European champions Portugal and 3-time champions Germany as they kick-off their Euro 2020 campaign against the mighty Germans on 15th June.

France and Portugal are the favourites to go through given that Germany does not seem to be the same team that won the World Cup in 2014.

Here is France’s 26-member squad that was announced for the European Championship.



  1. Hugo Lloris (Tottenham Hotspur, England)
  2. Mike Maignan (Lille OSC, France)
  3. Steve Mandanda (Marseille, France)


  1. Lucas Digne (Everton, England)
  2. Leo Dubois (Lyon, France)
  3. Lucas Hernandez (Bayern Munich, Germany)
  4. Presnel Kimpembe (PSG, France)
  5. Jules Kounde (Sevilla, Spain)
  6. Clement Lenglet (Barcelona, Spain)
  7. Benjamin Pavard (Bayern Munich, Germany)
  8. Raphael Varane (Real Madrid, Spain)
  9. Kurt Zouma (Chelsea, England)


  1. N’Golo Kante (Chelsea, England)
  2. Thomas Lemar (Atletico Madrid, Spain)
  3. Paul Pogba (Manchester United, England)
  4. Adrien Rabiot (Juventus, Italy)
  5. Moussa Sissoko (Tottenham Hotspur, England)
  6. Corentin Tolisso (Bayern Munich, Germany)


  1. Wissam Ben Yedder (AS Monaco, France)
  2. Karim Benzema (Real Madrid, Spain)
  3. Kingsley Coman (Bayern Munich, Germany)
  4. Ousmane Dembele (Barcelona, Spain)
  5. Olivier Giroud (Chelsea, England)
  6. Antoine Griezmann (Barcelona, Spain)
  7. Kylian Mbappe (PSG, France)
  8. Marcus Thuram (Borussia Monchengladbach, Germany)