Karim Benzema Insists He Will Not Drive Himself ‘Crazy’ Waiting for an International Call Up

Karim Benzema is resigned to never featuring for the French national team again, with the Real Madrid star insisting that he will not “drive myself crazy waiting” for a call up from manager Didier Deschamps.

The 31-year-old hasn’t featured for Les Bleus since 2015 but his scintillating form with Real Madrid this season has raised questions over a potential recall in the near future.

But Benzema, who’s been directly involved in 25 goals this season, claims that he isn’t prepared to wait to be recalled, adding that he wishes the new generation of national team players all the best for their future with France.

I’m not going to drive myself crazy waiting for a call from the national team,” Benzema told Téléfoot (via AS). 

Karim Benzema

Besides, the France team is now something else: they are Champions of the world, there is a new generation, young players, and they are very good. I only wish them the best.”

The Lyon native was excluded from the national team set-up almost four years ago for his alleged involvement in an attempt to blackmail Mathieu Valbuena over a sex tape.


Benzema was never charged over the incident, but there has been little sign that France manager Deschamps would ever recall the Real Madrid star to his senior side.

He scored 27 goals in 81 appearances during his career with Les Bleus, which spanned over eight years having made his debut under Raymond Domenech as a teenager.

French forward Karim Benzema (L) vies wi

Benzema travelled to three major tournaments with France where he scored three goals and claimed four assists. He was also named as the country’s player of the year three times, in 2011, 2012 and 2014.

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Christian Eriksen’s Agent Provides Update on Tottenham Contract Talks Amid Real Madrid Interest

​The agent of Tottenham playmaker Christian Eriksen has opened up about his client’s future with the Premier League side, insisting a decision regarding a new contract will not be made until the end of the season.

Eriksen’s current contract is set to expire in June 2020 but Spurs chairman Daniel Levy is reportedly interested in tying the midfielder down to a long-term contract as soon as possible.

The Denmark international has been in good form all season despite Tottenham missing attacking stars Harry Kane, Son Heung-min and Dele Alli at various points. 

With uncertainty surrounding the 27-year-old’s future, agent Martin Schoots has suggested contract talks with the north London side are not currently a priority.

Schoots told ESPN, as quoted by ​AS: “Christian only wants to focus himself on football. Besides his technical, tactical and athletic skills, also this attitude has contributed over the years to his impressive transformation from world class talent to world class player. 

“At this moment I would prefer not to join the speculations about contracts and transfers.”

Heung-Min Son,Christian Eriksen

The playmaker’s big name teammates like KaneAlli and Son have all recently signed new contracts with the club but Eriksen’s indecision over signing a new deal has seen ​rumours of a potential swap deal with Real Madrid involving Gareth Bale emerge.

Eriksen has become a pivotal member of the Tottenham team since his move from Ajax in 2013 and has been in good form so far this season, scoring seven goals and setting up 11 more in all competitions for his side.

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Lassana Diarra Announces Retirement From Football After Being Released by Paris Saint-Germain

Former France international midfielder Lassana Diarra has officially retired from football after having his contract with Paris Saint-Germain terminated.

The 33-year-old had been on the books at the Parc des Princes for just over a year following his return to Europe in January 2018, having spent the earlier six months playing for UAE side Al-Jazira.

But French giants Paris Saint-Germain announced on Thursday that they had parted ways with Diarra following talks with the midfielder.

Shortly after PSG made their statement, Diarra revealed on social media that he would be retiring from professional football, bringing an end to his 15-year career.


The Frenchman made his name at AC Le Havre before enjoying great success in England. He initially joined Chelsea in 2005 where he would win a Premier League, FA Cup and League Cup before going on to join Arsenal and Portsmouth, winning another FA Cup in 2008.

Diarra was then moved on to Real Madrid and once again he won every domestic trophy available to him whilst in Spain. The 33-year-old eventually went on to move to Russia before taking his first career break.

He returned to play for Olympique de Marseille for 18 months but took his second spell away from the sport in 2017. Within a couple of months, Diarra was playing for Al-Jazira.

Real Madrid's Portuguese forward Cristia

On top of his club career, Diarra also earned 34 international caps for France. He appeared at Euro 2008 despite never actually making an appearance for Les Bleus and he was most recently called up by Didier Deschamps in May 2016.

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FIFA 19 Ultimate Team: Jan Oblak, Kingsley Coman & Krzysztof Piatek Headline TOTW 23

It’s that time of the week again, with EA Sports’ FIFA 19 releasing their brand new team of the week cards for Ultimate Team.

For years now, gamers up and down the country eagerly anticipate the new release of cards rewarding some of the best individual performances from the previous week’s games from around the world.

Here, we spin you through the hottest cards featured in TOTW 23 – including a rather tasty Jan Oblak card and a deserved upgrade for in-form Milan hotshot Krzysztof Piatek.​


Jan Oblak (91)

Jan Oblak

The ​Atletico Madrid custodian has been imperious throughout this 2018/19 campaign, and this was confirmed once again with a clean sheet against Rayo Vallecano. This took his seasonal tally to a mighty 15 from 31 appearances, and his overall total to 108 in 193 Atletico outings. 

This TOTW 23 card hands Oblak a 91 rating, one up from his normal one, with 88 diving, 93 handling, 79 kicking, 90 reflexes, 45 speed and 90 positioning. Tasty stuff. 


Marquinhos (87)

Marquinhos

The conquerer of Manchester, Marquinhos put in one of the performances of the season from midfield against Manchester United at Old Trafford, as Paris Saint-Germain strode to a 2-0 victory in their ​Champions League last 16 1st leg. 

Another clean sheet followed in a tricky away clash against St-Etienne, with the Brazilian this time operating from his nominal centre back position. While that is where you’ll likely want to put this 87 rated card in your team, his significantly amplified pace (78) and dribbling (73) may push you to bend convention.


Kingsley Coman (85)

Trent Alexander-Arnold,Kingsley Coman

The French winger is fresh from wowing fans on this side of the channel with his performance against Liverpool at Anfield on Tuesday night in the Champions League, but this hallowed spot was earned from his two-goal showing against Augsburg in the Bundesliga. 

After being struck down with injury at the start of the season, Kingsley Coman is finally showing the world what he can do. With an 85 overall rating, 95 pace, 87 dribbling and 80 shooting, there’s very little he can’t do for your team. 


Radja Nainggolan (86)

Radja Nainggolan

After a difficult start to life at ​Inter following his big money move from Roma and the comparative form of Nicolo Zaniolo, who was included in said deal, Radja Nainggolan looks finally to be settling in with the Nerazzurri. 

His 78th minute score sealed all three points in a tightly contested affair with Sampdoria at San Siro, and his imbued dribbling (83), shooting (81) and physicality (84) should seal a whole load more for your side. 


Krzysztof Piatek (82)

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Krzysztof Piatek is the man of the hour at ​AC Milan. After joining from Genoa for €35m in Janaury as a replacement for the Chelsea-bound Gonzalo Higuain, the Polish striker has notched six goals in five games – continuing his extraordinary goalscoring record this season. 

And this TOTW card sufficiently reflects this purple patch of form. With elite pace and shooting (both 84) coupled tantalisingly with slick dribbling (80) and boosted physicality (82), Piatek’s 82 overall card becomes one of the most complete of any of his competitors. 


Honourable Mentions

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What would this list be without this man. Mario Balotelli has been electric since joining Olympique de Marseille in January, with three goals from his four games. He continued this form with a glorious back-heel in the build up to his side’s opener against SC Amiens last weekend, and a consummate finish of his own to bag the win. 

The card is equally special. With an 85 overall rating, you’ll be sure Super Mario can recreate this and more in your side. Elsewhere, former West Ham reject Sofiane Feghouli seems to have recovered his pre-Hammers form with Galatasaray, and 87 pace and 85 dribbling on an 82 overall card is not shabby at all. Don’t sleep on the 78 shooting, either.

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Barcelona Rejected Chance to Sign Real Madrid Star Karim Benzema Due to ‘Risky Attitude’

Barcelona rejected a chance to sign Karim Benzema from Lyon in 2008, after concerns were raised over the striker’s attitude and personality.

During his time with his boyhood club, Benzema established himself as one of the most exciting young prospects in the world. He would eventually move to Barcelona’s arch rivals Real Madrid, who parted with over £30m to bring the Frenchman to the Bernabeu Stadium in 2009.

News of Barcelona’s previous interest in Benzema comes from Marca, who note that the striker was Barcelona’s primary transfer target at the time.

They wrote: “Barcelona needed a forward in 2008 when Pep Guardiola arrived at the helm of the Camp Nou and did not want to count on Samuel Eto’o.

“Txiki Begisristain, then technical secretary at Barcelona, was in charge of the operation and had visited [Benzema’s] house in Lyon in order to convince him to sign for the club, with those at the Camp Nou assuming the striker would join.

Lyon French forward Karim Benzema jubila

“However, Begisristain was not happy with anything he saw. He did not like the friendships that the no. 9 had nor the way he tried to relate to him in conversation, even commenting that Benzema did not look at him during their chat.

“For one reason or another, it was decided that the club would not sign the forward as there was a risk he would become problematic and his adaptation would not be easy.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic

“Zlatan Ibrahimovic arrived in the summer of 2009 in exchange for Samuel Eto’o and David Villa arrived a year later to replace the Swede.”

Benzema has since gone on to become one of the deadliest strikers of his generation and one of the all-time greats in ​Real history. He has racked up a stunning 211 goals and 120 assists in 451 appearances and has won an impressive 17 trophies during his 10 years at the club.

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Gareth Bale Linked With Sensational Return to Tottenham as Future at Real Grows Uncertain

Real Madrid winger Gareth Bale is reportedly open to a move back to former club Tottenham Hotspur, as doubts continue to swirl around the 29-year-old’s future in Spain.

Following Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure to Juventus last year, many at Madrid thought that the Welshman would thrive as the club’s leading forward.

However, despite featuring on 30 occasions for Los Blancos this season, Bale has only managed to score twelve goals in all competitions with just six of those coming in La Liga.

Gareth Bale

Under new manager Santiago Solari, the Wales international has found himself out of favour in recent weeks having started just two of the last seven games that he’s been available for selection, falling behind Karim Benzema and youngster Vinicius Junior in the pecking order.

According to Spanish newspaper Marca, as quoted by Sportswitness, Los Blancos are willing to cut ties with Bale in order to finance other transfer deals in the summer, with Tottenham rumoured to be one of the clubs that they would be willing to negotiate with.

However, any deal involving the former Southampton star with Spurs may involve Christian Eriksen going in the opposite direction as Madrid look to freshen up their creative options at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Christian Eriksen

The Dane has been in fine form this season, scoring seven goals and providing twelve assists for his team-mates from attacking midfield and has been linked with a move in the past to both Madrid and Barcelona.

Whether Tottenham would be willing to sacrifice Eriksen for the return of Bale, who left the club in 2013 for £85.3m, could depend on the future of their manager Mauricio Pochettino as the Argentinian continues to be touted as a permanent replacement for Jose Mourinho at Manchester United.

If Spurs do try to bring the winger back to the Premier League they could face competition from the Red Devils for his signature, with Chelsea also thought to be monitoring the winger’s situation.

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Real Madrid Could End Interest in Eden Hazard as Los Blancos Step Up Pursuit of Neymar

​Real Madrid could bring their long-term interest in Eden Hazard to an end, as they continue to set their sights on snapping up Neymar from Paris Saint-Germain.

Los Blancos have come under fire in recent years for their lack of marquee signings and are yet to fill the gap left behind by Cristiano Ronaldo after the Portuguese superstar made the switch to Juventus last summer.

According to ​The Times, ​Real have now firmly set their sights on signing ​Neymar this summer and are prepared to top his current salary which sits at more than £25m a year.

In contrast to recent ​comments made by Neymar’s father, the Brazilian is said to have welcomed the interest from Los Blancos and is more than interested in moving over to the Spanish capital.

The deal has been made all the more likely after the emergence of ​Kylian Mbappe at PSG, coupled with the pressure the club are under to adhere to Uefa Financial Fair Play regulations. 

If PSG were to sell Neymar, then they would free up some valuable space on their wage bill, as well as making back a significant portion of the fee they originally payed ​Barcelona back in 2017.

Eden Hazard

If a deal is agreed for Neymar, this would subsequently bring an end to Real’s pursuit of Hazard, as Real would no longer have the financial means to match Chelsea’s lofty valuation of the 28-year-old.

Negotiations surrounding a new contract have been ongoing, but an agreement has yet to be reached – in spite of the fact that Hazard previously claimed to have come to decision about his future.

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Giorgio Chiellini Names World’s Best Defender & Calls Atletico Madrid ‘More Italian Than Spanish’

​Juventus defender Giorgio Chiellini has claimed that Atletico Madrid are ‘more Italian than Spanish’ ahead of the meeting between the two clubs in the Champions League round of 16. 

Famed for their miserly defence under manager Diego Simeone, Los Rojiblancos currently have the best defensive record in La Liga this season, conceding just 17 goals – only two more than current Serie A leaders Juve have conceded domestically. 

Speaking ahead of their first-leg meeting at the Wanda Metropolitano on Wednesday, the 34-year-old centre back praised that Atletico Madrid’s pragmatism, a quality synonymous with Italian football. 

“I think Atletico Madrid are more Italian than Spanish,” the veteran centre-back told ​Marca.

“In terms of mentality and approach to games, they’re closer to our football. Simeone is ready to line up four midfielders to stop Juventus: Rodrigo, Thomas, Saul and Koke. I hope to return to this stadium for the final on June 1.”

Chiellini is aiming to win his first Champions League final with ​Juventus, having lost his previous two finals in 2015 and 2017 to Barcelona and Real Madrid respectively. However, with the addition of ​Cristiano Ronaldo over the summer, are considered one of the favourites to lift to trophy in the Spanish capital.

As well as the upcoming Champions League tie against Atletico Madrid, Chiellini was also asked if he believed he was the best central defender in the world at present, although the Italian named one of Ronaldo’s former teammates instead. 

Asked the question, Chiellini replied: “No, Atletico have one of them in Diego Godin. When he’s not there, Atletico change. He knows what distances to keep and I think he is the soul of Atletico and I know his renewal situation is complicated.”

Sergio Ramos

Later in the interview, he added: “I said it last year, but now he [Sergio Ramos] even takes penalties, he is the best defender in the world. He hardly ever makes a mistake and if he does it’s because other things went wrong.

​”He’s a leader on and off the pitch and is one of those players that can influence both teams. He makes others play and that’s the difference between a good player and a champion. Sergio is the best.”

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Leonardo Bonucci Reveals He Rejected Real Madrid to Return ‘Home’ to Juventus

Juventus centre back Leonardo Bonucci has revealed that he rejected the chance to join reigning European champions Real Madrid when he opted to leave AC Milan last summer, instead re-signing for I Bianconeri just 13 months after leaving.

Bonucci surprisingly left Juve in 2017 after a spat with coach Massimiliano Allegri. But after failing to reach his former level with his new club, the Italian international made his way back to Turin after only one season in a swap deal with Mattia Caldara valued at €35m.

FBL-ITA-SERIEA-CHIEVO-JUVENTUS

He could have joined Real Madrid at that point, but the 31-year-old has revealed to Spanish outlet AS that his desire to feel ‘at home’ once more after being away from his family, who had remained in Turin when he joined Milan, was a bigger pull.

“It is truth: Madrid looked at me,” Bonucci explained.

“It has been a pride and a pleasure to be on their radar, it means that I have worked well over the years. But the call of Juventus and the desire to return to feel at home made my heart decide that the Bianconeri colours suit me better,” he added.

Bonucci would have followed in the footsteps of Italy’s 2006 World Cup winning captain Fabio Cannavaro had he taken the plunge and accepted the call from the Bernabeu. But some things are bigger and more important than football.

Leonardo Bonucci

With his young son Matteo suffering from serious illness, something that even led the player to consider retirement in 2017, Bonucci found being away from his family hard.

“Last year I was almost always in Milan and my children never saw me. That reasons that pushed me to return [to Juventus],” he said.

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Gareth Bale Rejects Offers From Manchester United & Chelsea in Favour of Real Madrid Stay

Gareth Bale has reportedly rejected interest from Premier League giants Manchester United and Chelsea in favour of staying at Real Madrid.

The Wales international has come under fire in recent weeks following public criticism from several teammates including Marcelo and Thibaut Courtois, over his apparent unwillingness to embrace the Spanish lifestyle.

UEFA Champions League'Ajax v Real Madrid'

Despite reports suggesting that Bale was angling for a move away from the Santiago Bernabeu, ​The Times have now claimed that the 29-year-old has turned down offers from both ​Chelsea and ​Manchester United in order to continue plying his trade with Madrid.

The report adds that the Welshman, whose contract with Los Blancos runs until the summer of 2022, prefers to stay with Madrid over making a return to the ​Premier League.

​Bale has also been at the centre of controversy in the past week for an alleged gesture towards Atletico fans after celebrating his goal in Madrid’s 3-1 win over their derby rivals.

According to Spanish publication ​AS, La Liga have opened up a disciplinary case against the former Tottenham star in relation to the incident, with suggestions that he could face up to a 12-match ban for his actions. 

AS report that the move by La Liga has angered the reigning Champions League holders, with Santiago Solari’s side now waiting to find out for how long Bale could potentially be ruled out of action.

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