Real Madrid and France star Karim Benzema has been found guilty of complicity in attempted blackmail with regard to the sex tape case involving former Les Bleus teammate Mathieu Valbuena.
The 33-year-old has been handed a 75,000 euro fine alongside a one-year suspended prison sentence, which means that he will not have to serve it so long as he doesn’t commit another offence.
It was claimed that the Ballon d’Or nominee put pressure on Valbuena to pay off blackmailers at the time of the incident in June 2015 while the pair were on a training camp with France.
The scandal shook French football to its core and both players lost their places in the squad at the time.
Benzema, however, earned a recall in May after being in red hot form for Real Madrid while Valbuena has not returned to the squad since.
Below, we answer some questions that you might have about what happens next for Benzema.
Can Benzema appeal?
He is able to do so, according to his lawyers, and they announced in the courtroom that they will do so, as they look to make sure that it is made clear that Benzema was not aware of what was going on with Valbuena.
Will Benzema have to go to prison?
No. In France, an individual will not have to go to prison if their sentence is less than two years, so long as they do not commit another offence.
The financial fine has been the largest possible, because the judge made the case that Benzema must set an example with his actions as a public.
Will this affect him playing for France?
The French Football Federation (FFF) could take that decision, but Didier Deschamps’ decision to recall Benzema ahead of Euro 2020 and his fine form since then indicates that France would not go down this route.
“For me, [the trial] doesn’t change anything. He is eligible for selection,” said Noel Le Graet, the FFF president.
And the Ballon d’Or?
No, that shouldn’t be affected. Voting for the 2021 Ballon d’Or closed a fortnight ago and Benzema is one of the favourites for the award, along with Robert Lewandowski and Lionel Messi.