Benzema was given one-year suspended sentence over sex tape

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Karim Benzema of Real Madrid was given a one-year suspended sentence by a French court on Wednesday for his role in attempting to blackmail his former France teammate Mathieu Valbuena with a sex tape.

Prosecutors had sought a harsher sentence for the 33-year-old player in connection with an extortion attempt in 2015, which resulted in Benzema’s five-and-a-half-year ban from the France team.

Benzema was not present in court in Versailles, a suburb of Paris, for the decision, which came just hours before Real Madrid’s Champions League match against Sheriff Tiraspol in Moldova.

His legal team immediately announced that they would file an appeal.

One of his lawyers, Sylvain Cormier, told reporters outside the courthouse that he was “quite stunned” by the ruling.

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The prosecution had requested a 10-month suspended sentence for Benzema, who was one of five people charged in connection with an affair that rocked the French national team.

Benzema missed his trial last month due to professional obligations.

The verdict is unlikely to have an impact on his career, with Noel Le Graet, the president of the French football federation, stating that he could keep his place in Les Bleus even if convicted, and Real Madrid expressing their support for their star player.

Benzema’s conviction, however, cast a pall over his stunning return to the national team after a years-long absence earlier this year.

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Since being recalled by France manager Didier Deschamps for the Euro 2020 finals, which have been delayed by a year due to the coronavirus pandemic, Benzema has scored nine times, making him the fifth-highest scorer in the history of Les Bleus.

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