Paris - Mathieu Valbuena said Friday that France
international teammate Karim Benzema "indirectly" told him he had to
pay a ransom to get back a sex-tape of him with his girlfriend.
In his first public comments on the scandal that has torn
apart the French national team, Valbuena told Le Monde newspaper he was
"very, very, very disappointed" at the actions of Benzema.
Twenty-seven year-old Real Madrid star Benzema has been
charged with complicity to blackmail Valbuena over the tape.
Le Monde asked Valbuena whether Benzema had just urged him
to meet the blackmailers. "Incite, that means 'you will have to pay'
indirectly," Valbuena replied.
"He was not aggressive in his manner of talking, he did
not talk about money concretely, directly. But when someone insists that I meet
someone ... hmmmm.
"I have never met anyone who is going to destroy a
video for free just because they love me! You shouldn't treat people like
idiots," Valbuena said.
Also read: Valbuena leaves court after hearing in sex tape probe
The scandal has rocked France's campaign for the European
Championships which the country will host next year. Benzema has been banned
from meeting Valbuena and neither were chosen for recent France games.
Four men, including a friend of Benzema, Karim Zenati, have
been charged and detained over the blackmail using the stolen sex-tape.
Benzema is alleged to have approached Valbuena about the
images at a France national training camp on October 5.
The 31-year-old Lyon midfielder said it had been hard to
accept the implication of a France teammate in the scandal.
"I am very very very disappointed and I can only note
that my relations with Karim were not as sincere as he makes out," he
According to investigation sources, Benzema has admitted to
police that he was to act as an "intermediary" between Valbuena and
one of the blackmailers who was a childhood friend of Benzema.
"When I went to the first (police) questioning I had
absolutely no idea that Karim Benzema was involved," he told Le Monde.
- 'I have a daughter' -
Valbuena said Benzema had asked him to deny Benzema's
involvement in a telephone call when Lyon were in Russia preparing to play
against Zenit St Petersburg in the Champions League on October 20.
"He said to me 'Mat my name has come out, what is all
this chaos. I can't be in all these affairs.'
"I said to him: 'Listen Karim, its nothing special, you
did nothing, there's no worry'. But I told myself it's strange that he wanted
me to meet this person."
According to Valbuena, Benzema then went on to ask him to
deny his involvement. "This is hot, it is going to become mad, I have a
daughter and everything," he quoted Benzema as saying.
Valbuena had earlier made a statement saying that another
former teammate, Djibril Cisse, was not involved in the affair even though he
had also been questioned by police about the sex-tape.
"At that moment, I knew that the big difference between
Djibril and Karim was that Djibril had never asked me to meet someone. But
Karim, he did," said Valbuena.
The blackmail case began in June, when Valbuena lodged a
complaint with police after being telephoned by a man who said he had the sex
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