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Karim Benzema: “I am not guilty.”

Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema gave his first interview on the Mathieu Valbuena blackmail-sextape scandal tonight to TF1. Below.

On why he is giving an interview…

I wanted to have my say a bit on all this, all this relentlessness from the media surrounding me. It is relentless, there is no other way to describe it. I am being accused, I am being dragged through the mud in every direction, as if I was a criminal. It is horrible.

On what Valbuena said in his interview with Le Monde last week…

At the beginning, I do not think that is what he thought. It was after that he had his head messed with so it is easy. But on the day we never spoke about money. The blackmailers? I do not know them. Karim Zenati is a childhood friend. He was in prison, he got out two years ago, he has a new chance to take. He is like my brother.

On his vulgar language used on the phone to Mr Zenati…

I can understand, yes (that is not appropriate), after all that. When I see him in the evening (Valbuena), he is not disappointed, quite the opposite. He said to me: “thanks brother for warning me”. You can ask him that. The only thing that I regret, is on the phone with my friend, to have spoke in a joking manner.

I apologise to him and his family. On the phone we were fooling around. A word like that (Tarlouze, which essentially means fa**ot), all the players can understand it. In the dressing room we do not call each other “my dear”. It was not thought through, it came out like that.

On his version of events…

What happened, it is simple. I hear that there is a video of him. I come to let him know about it but he already seemed to know about it. I told him that I could help him because I have a friend in Lyon. He can sort it out, it is Karim Zenati. We spoke about that. I spoke with him. If he had warned his family, that was the most important thing.

When I hear that I blackmailed, that I asked for money, it drives me crazy, it has nothing to do with that. I have done well in life and for a long time too. I do not need to get more money. When I do a favour for someone, I am not expecting money. We never spoke about money or whatever it might be. I said to him two or three times that because my friend is in Lyon he might be able sort things out.

On reaching out to Mathieu Valbuena…

I do not need to call him. He is in Lyon, I could have gone to see him, I could have gone and apologised for that episode (the phone conversation). I do not understand why they did that (kept him in police custody overnight). They put me in police custody and made me sleep like a criminal despite the fact that I asked on my own accord to be heard (by the prosecutors).

On the future…

I am not playing for the cameras, I am not playing a game. I am here to be sincere. I hope that things will end well, that we will all be fine, Mathieu, myself, my friend. And that we can all return to the French national team to win the Euros.


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