Benzema criticism unfair - Deschamps

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France coach Didier Deschamps defended Karim Benzema and believes the striker is "unfairly criticised".

The Real Madrid striker was included on the 23-man Ballon d'Or shortlist, an honour Deschamps feels the 31-year-old deserves.

Speaking at a news conference on Thursday, Deschamps said Benzema was under-appreciated.

"He deserves [to be nominated for the Ballon d'Or]," he said.

"After you know, between those who vote and those who are chosen, there are surprises too. Karim is now one of the offensive players, one of the strikers, very efficient in this year 2014.

"He is unfairly criticised and especially in France. Because abroad, he is still considered a high-level attacker. Of course, he could always be better, he may still be more decisive.

"But for me, it is a privilege to have Karim in the French team. He is beaming right now, efficient, he makes a lot of things in the game, for his team.

"He is a very important player for his club, Real Madrid, and for us. He is pleased to be there, it shows. He is a very high level striker."

Deschamps also praised Bayern Munich star Franck Ribery, who retired from international duty earlier this year.

He is happy to see the attacker back enjoying the game.

"He took a decision [to retire from internationals], it is fairly recent," Deschamps said.

"Since the World Cup, he has struggled to recover. Here it seems to be on good track and the game yesterday [against Roma] confirms this."