Benzema comments 'scandalous', says Front National leader
The leader of France's far-right Front National political party has responded to Karim Benzema's recent suggestion that racism contributed to his exclusion from his nation's Euro 2016 squad, describing his comments as "scandalous".
Benzema courted controversy when he claimed that France coach Didier Deschamps had "bowed to the pressure of a racist part of France," by not selecting him in his squad for the European Championship.
But Marine Le Pen said Benzema's comments showed his "wickedness".
"I find the declarations scandalous," Le Pen said on Thursday. "I'm not surprised Mr. Benzema hides his wickedness behind a violent charge against the French people."
Marine's niece Marion Le Pen took it one step further by suggesting the Real Madrid striker should play for Algeria instead when she tweeted he should "go and play for his country" if he did not like the situation.
#Benzema : "L'Algérie c'est mon pays la France c'est juste pour le coté sportif". Qu'il aille jouer dans "son pays" s'il n'est pas content !
— Marion Le Pen (@Marion_M_Le_Pen) June 1, 2016
Deschamps, meanwhile, has refused to add fuel to the fire.
"I have no reaction. I have nothing to say about it," Deschamps said when asked about the comments.
"Today, there are people who do not like the France team…[but] we are not here to be unanimous."