Real Madrid forward Karim Benzema is facing serious prison time after being placed under formal investigation in connection with attempts to blackmail French teammate Mathieu Valbuena.
Valbuena was involved in a sex tape, and has since been extorted by a group of people – with Benzema spending Wednesday night in prison, and attending a hearing on Thursday morning due to his alleged role.
Benzema’s name reportedly came up during the police investigation after phone tapping back in July, with Djibril Cisse also taken in for questioning, but not placed under formal investigation by the authorities.
Should he be found guilty of charges of reported conspiracy to blackmail and participating in a criminal group, the Algerian-born forward has been told he faces up to five years in prison.
It is not the first – and probably won’t be the last – time the forward has been involved in legal woes.
Benzema was of course the other player implicated in the underage prostitution sex scandal with compatriot Franck Ribery, with the case eventually dropped by French courts.
The Real Madrid player is also facing a court case on the day of El Clasico after being caught speeding in Madrid – again.
That follows the player having his licence revoked for being caught driving over the limit earlier in the year.
Despite his ability on the field, and fact he plays for arguably the biggest team in the world, scandal seems to follow Benzema both in France and Madrid.
Le Point also reported that he could face separate charges after being implicated in the French ‘Air Cocaine’ trafficking scandal, which would be disastrous news for the player.
Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy has also been linked with the investigation, with the number one suspect in the criminal saga gripping France identified via his close links to Benzema.
Both Benzema and Valbuena now been left out of the France squad for the upcoming International Break, with coach Didier Deschamps stating Benzema was injured anyway, and Valbuena would not be in the right frame of mind.
Quite how he will proceed for the Euros come the summer, which are ironically in France, remains to be seen.
Benzema cannot currently contact Valbuena, let alone share a dressing room with him, so depending on how quickly the legal case moves and the charges against Benzema, Deschamps may have to pick between the pair.
Either that, or place his faith in Olivier Giroud if Benzema is in prison by that point, which is looking like a real possibility as more and more details emerge.