Karim Benzema's hopes of resurrecting his France career have suffered a serious blow after the French Football Federation's (FFF) president said the Real Madrid star is "finished" on the global stage.
The topic came up during Le Graet's interview after a court in Paris ruled last Thursday that a decision on whether the blackmail case involving Benzema and his former France teammate Mathieu Valbuena will be dropped is to be made early next month.
Benzema has hinted in the past that Le Graet utilised the scandal to effectively condemn him to global retirement and that World Cup-winning coach Didier Deschamps bowed to racist pressures to exclude him during the 2016 European Championship on home soil.
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"It's been three or four years".
But the 81-time capped Benzema did not take long to respond to Le Graet's statement and took to social media.
"Noel, you already ended Benzema's worldwide career in June of 2018 and you're doing it again now and at the same time, you insult him", Djaziri fired on Twitter. "Write to Federation Internationale de Football Association and let him play for another team to see if it's true that it's finished", he said.
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Sollicité par Le Figaro , André Laignel, vice-président de l'Association des maires de France, s'insurge: " C'est scandaleux. En octobre, les mauvaises nouvelles arrivent pour certains contribuables.
Speaking to Ouest-France on Wednesday, Le Graet was questioned about a future return for Benzema and said: "I have nothing against Karim, he has always behaved well in the [national] team, but I think he is finished with Les Bleus, particularly as he has been out of form for a while".
The player himself also spoke out, calling on Le Graet to "forget" about him at a time when France should be celebrating. "Mr. Le Graet I ask you to forget about me and to leave me in peace", Benzema wrote.
Benzema picked up 81 caps for France prior to his exile from worldwide duty, scoring 27 goals. "France is world champion and that's the essential thing".
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