Sentenced in November 2021 to this suspended prison sentence and a 75,000 fine at first instance by the Versailles Criminal Court for complicity in attempted blackmail, the Real Madrid superstar finally withdrew his appeal, as the indicated his lawyer, Me Hugues Vigier, to AFP, on the night of Friday to Saturday, confirming information from the Actu78 site.

The withdrawal order will be notified to the parties on Tuesday by the Versailles Court of Appeal.

Me Vigier had previously assured the daily L'Equipe that "this withdrawal confirms a decision of conviction and apparently guilt".

"It's a judicial truth. But it's not the reality," commented the new lawyer seized by the player since last March, with the sports daily.

The 34-year-old footballer was the only one of the five convicted of attempted blackmail or complicity to have appealed his criminal sanction.

He was to be retried on June 30 and July 1 before the 9th chamber of the Versailles Court of Appeal, and his former lawyer, Me Antoine Vey, had specified that Benzema would come to explain himself in person during this new trial.

Mathieu Valbuena and Karim Benzema before the round of 16 of the World Cup between France and Nigeria, June 30, 2014 in Brasilia Franck FIFE AFP / Archives

In its judgment, the Versailles Criminal Court considered that the footballer had "personally involved himself, at the cost of subterfuge and lies, to convince his teammate to submit to blackmail".

The striker showed "no benevolence towards Mathieu Valbuena, quite the contrary" and acted "with a certain excitement, even a certain jubilation", added its president.

International career stopped

This renunciation puts an end to one of the most publicized extra-sporting affairs of recent years.

Six and a half years have passed since the incident, which occurred in the middle of a French team rally at the Clairefontaine training center (Yvelines) in October 2015, when Benzema exchanged with his teammate about a compromising video.

The case will have stretched until the trial held in Versailles in the fall of 2021, in the presence of Valbuena but in the absence of Benzema, restrained by his busy schedule at Real Madrid according to his advice.

The impact of this file will have stopped the rise of the French international, who remained away from the Blues for more than five years before making a surprise return to Didier Deschamps' team before the Euro in 2021.

Benzema, who has always claimed his innocence in this affair, is now one of the indisputable executives of the tricolor selection which challenges his title of world champion in November in Qatar.

France team coach Didier Deschamps (g) congratulates his striker Karim Benzema after the 2021 Nations League semi-final against Belgium in Turin, October 7, 2021 MASSIMO RANA POOL / AFP / Archives

On several occasions, Benzema had expressed his wish to see this judicial page turned as soon as possible.

When the dates of his trial for "complicity in attempted blackmail" were announced, the player reacted on Instagram: "Here is finally vamonos (let's go), may the masquerade end forever".

The calendar is such that the announcement of this renunciation comes only a few hours after a match of the Blues, lost 2-1 against Denmark in Saint-Denis, with a goal from … Benzema, recent winner of his 5th Champions League and big favorite for the Ballon d'Or, the highest individual award in football.

© 2022 AFP

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