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Saturday 10 December 2016

Valbuena hits out at Benzema

Olympique Lyon's Mathieu Valbuena, right, in action with Nice's Jeremy Pied during their French Ligue 1 soccer match at Allianz Riviera stadium in Nice
Olympique Lyon's Mathieu Valbuena, right, in action with Nice's Jeremy Pied during their French Ligue 1 soccer match at Allianz Riviera stadium in Nice

Mathieu Valbuena and the French Football Federation have each broken their silence over a blackmail case involving the Lyon midfielder.

Valbuena's France team-mate, Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema, was interviewed by police in France on November 5 over his involvement in an alleged attempt to extort money over a sex-tape reportedly showing Valbuena and his partner.

An FFF statement yesterday read: "The French Football Federation has decided to lodge civil papers in the Karim Benzema/Mathieu Valbuena case (and) reserves the right, regarding the evolution of the case, to take all measures applicable to the situation."

That will give the federation access to case files and hearings, keeping open the possibility of eventually seeking damages over the impact on the image of French football.

Benzema's lawyer Alain Jakubowicz said on Tuesday that the striker "was a positive, not a negative, intermediary" as he sought to put Valbuena in contact with his friend.

That followed an interview with Valbuena in which he said: "(Benzema) wasn't aggressive, and he didn't speak to me firmly, directly about money, but when you insist that I meet someone... hmmm.

"Afterwards, he said several times that I was dealing with 'big bandits' and he added, 'After all, the video is hot. If it was me, with my family and all... you'd have to be strong'.

"He would say, 'I can introduce you to my friend...' It kept coming back to that. When he was about to leave, Karim said, 'What shall I do? Shall I give him your number? Should I give you his number?'. He was inciting me.

"I am very, very, very disappointed and I can only say that my relations with Karim were not as sincere as he makes out."

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