looking forward to the euros

Karim Benzema Charged in Alleged Sex Tape Blackmail Case

Police want to know if he's been offering friendly advice or is in on the plot.

VICE Sports

I remember a simpler time. A time when Djibril Cissé was the only French footballer who had been arrested in connection with alleged blackmail over a sex tape. But that time, my friends, has passed.

A few weeks on from former Liverpool man Cissé being arrested and subsequently released, Karim 'Arsenal's Chief Target This Summer' Benzema has been taken into custody over his potential involvement with the case.

Cissé was released shortly after being interviewed by police (perhaps after explaining to them that he hadn't played international football in almost five years).

But, following his arrest yesterday, Benzema has now been charged.

Yesterday, the Guardian reported that the Real Madrid striker "was summoned to the police station at Versailles shortly before 9am on Wednesday morning. Afterwards the public prosecutor's office would only confirm that he was being held for questioning."

The case concerns an alleged attempt to blackmail a French international player (who has been named elsewhere as Mathieu Valbuena) using a recording on a mobile phone. Three men who are not famous French footballers have been charged, albeit with comparatively little fanfare.

Again, from the Guardian: "[The newspaper] L'Equipe said investigators wanted to establish whether a conversation between Benzema and the player during a meeting of the French national team at the beginning of October was simply friendly advice or part of the plot."

The French national side have a history of turbulent relationships with each other and the public. Their fallout at the 2010 World Cup was especially spectacular, though the team appeared more united at last summer's tournament where they reached the quarter-finals.

Not that this is the kind of thing that could shatter the team's spirit just over six months ahead of them hosting the European Championships, of course...

This story has been updated to reflect the fact that Benzema has now been charged.