In a court in Versailles, the trial started on Wednesday morning in which Karim Benzema must answer for his part in the case surrounding the sex tape of his compatriot Mathieu Valbuena.

The Real Madrid striker was not present himself.

Benzema, 33, is suspected of encouraging his former French national team-mate to pay money to blackmailers who threatened to spread intimate images of Valbuena.

Valbuena, 37, who did show up in court on Wednesday, reportedly had to pay a friend of Benzema's 150,000 euros to prevent a sex video of him from being made public.

Benzema has always claimed that he is innocent and previously asked the court to cancel the investigation, but the French justice did not respond.

Due to the affair, which dates back to 2015, Benzema lost his place in the national team.

In May, Benzema returned to the French national team after six years.

He was also part of France's European Championship squad.

Benzema, who scored for Real Madrid on Tuesday in the Champions League match against Shakhtar Donetsk (0-5 win), risks five years in prison and a fine of 75,000 euros.