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Deschamps not holding Benzema grudge

France coach Didier Deschamps says he does not hold a grudge against Karim Benzema and has claimed the Real Madrid striker could return to the national team.

Benzema has been in international exile since being placed under formal investigation by French police in November 2015 over an alleged blackmail plot involving fellow France international Mathieu Valbuena and missed out on Euro 2016, with the striker subsequently suggesting Deschamps bowed to racially motivated pressures in leaving him out of his squad.

French Football Federation president Noel Le Graet recently stressed Deschamps is free to select the 29-year-old, and the coach has now hinted a comeback could be on the cards.

"What happened is in the past now. I do not feel any resentment toward him," Deschamps told Le Parisien.

"Other players have made inappropriate statements toward me and that never stopped me from calling them up. An invitation to the national team is not a declaration of love. 

"If I think it is good for the team to recall Karim, then I will recall him. I only make my decisions based on sporting reasons. I always ask myself if a decision is in the team's best interest.

"Karim is still one of the best attackers France have. Nothing is impossible. Lassana Diarra did not play for France for five years and then returned. Nobody knows what will happen in the future."