Suspended UEFA chief Michel Platini has questioned his compatriot and Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema’s credibility in an outspoken interview with BeIn Sports.
The French football legend gave a talk on a number of issues including his country hosting the European Championship in the summer, the current generation of French internationals and his suspension from European football’s premier governing body in charges of corruption.
While Benzema’s himself is suspended from the French national side, with his dream of leading France to Euro glory still hanging in the balance, it did not stop Platini to question his importance to Didier Deschamps’ side.
“It is a good generation that are coming with a coach who knows what he is doing. This will help the French national team to something good,” said Platini.
“I am more sceptical when it comes to Karim Benzema. There are players who play for the big clubs, but I don’t know if you can say that Benzema is a top player. He is very good but the star of Real Madrid is Cristiano.”
“Didier Deschamps will decide. Let him decide, he’s got my confidence,” he added.
Benzema was indefinitely suspended from the national team back in December because of his involvement in an extortion scam with international colleague Mathieu Valbuena. But despite his restraining order from Valbuena being lifted, the Madrid forward is not guaranteed a place in the French squad that would compete in the Euros.
Platini himself is banned from all football related activities and could watch his country from the comforts of his home rather than in the stadium, which he describes as “outrageous” and “a huge injustice”.
“The Euro 2016 is like one of my children, but I still don’t know if I can go. I am suspended by FIFA. It’s outrageous, a huge injustice. People want to harm me, it’s how it is,” he said.
“Maybe people don’t want me to take the reins of the football world because if I did I would make a lot of changes at FIFA.”
Platini and FIFA president Sepp Blatter were both suspended from all football related activities for eight years, which was later reduced to six years by the FIFA Appeal Committee.