France's Karim Benzema reacts after the team's 2014 World Cup quarter-finals against Germany at the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro July 4, 2014. REUTERS/Charles Platiau
CAIRO – 17 April 2018: Real Madrid’s French striker, Karim Benzema, revealed on Tuesday that he always refused to sing the French national anthem before games with the national team.
“If we listen to ‘La Marseillaise’ (French national anthem), it is a call to go to war and I don't like that," Benzema told Marca on Tuesday.
“La Marseillaise” was written in 1792 by Claude Joseph after France declared war against Austria. It has served as the France’s national anthem since 1975.
Benzema, born in Lyon, France to Algerian parents, had represented France’s national team from the time he was 17 until October 2015, when he was excluded from the French national team’s squad under the national team manager, Didier Deschamps. He wore the national jersey at UEFA EURO 2008 and 2012, as well as the 2010 and 2014 World Cups.
He was also suspended from the French Football Federation after his involvement in an ongoing blackmail case against his teammate on the national team, Mathieu Valbuena.
Asked about his involvement in Valbuena’s case, he said, “I was dealt an unfair hand. I spent one day in prison and went back to Madrid sad. If France needs me, they know where to find me.”
The French national team will participate in the 2018 World Cup in Russia. The draw put them in Group C alongside Denmark, Australia and Peru.