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Benzema’s request for Valbuena showdown rejected

 Mathieu Valbuena (left) and Karim Benzema listen to the French national anthem before the 2014 World Cup match against Nigeria in Brasilia. PHOTO/AFP

Mathieu Valbuena (left) and Karim Benzema listen to the French national anthem before the 2014 World Cup match against Nigeria in Brasilia. PHOTO/AFP

VERSAILES, January 4 – Karim Benzema’s request for a showdown with fellow France international Mathieu Valbuena over an alleged blackmail case in which Benzema has been charged has been rejected, judicial sources confirmed on Monday.

“The request for a confrontation was turned down on December 22,” the prosecutor’s office in Versailles, outside Paris, told AFP.

Real Madrid striker Benzema, 28, was charged on November 5 with complicity to blackmail and conspiring to commit a criminal act involving a sex tape featuring Valbuena.

The charges carry a prison sentence of at least five years. He was also banned from meeting 31-year-old Valbuena, a midfielder for French club Lyon where Benzema began his career.

Benzema was last month indefinitely suspended from the France national team over the case.

French Football Federation (FFF) president Noel Le Graet said the suspension would include the 2016 European Championship, which starts on June 10, unless the case is settled beforehand.

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