Karim Benzema’s lawyer has claimed a “great victory” after France’s Court of Cassation ruled in his favour in a blackmail case involving him and former international colleague Mathieu Valbuena.

Benzema was charged by police in 2015 in connection to an alleged blackmail attempt targeting Valbuena with a sex tape, a case which is yet to go to trial.

The Real Madrid star has been exiled from France’s national team since the incident, and missed out on a place at Euro 2016 on home soil as a result.

Benzema saw an appeal against the charges rejected in December last year, but the Court of Cassation – France’s court of final appeals in civil and criminal proceedings – has backed him.

Defence for Benzema argued that police acted dishonestly as an undercover officer posed as a friend of Valbuena’s while negotiating with the blackmailers, who are alleged to have approached a friend of Benzema’s, which prompted the striker to discuss the matter with Valbuena while on international duty.

Benzema’s defence argued that the officer played an “active role” in pushing the parties towards a deal and that no crime would have taken place if he had not.

Lawyer Patrice Spinosi told Franceinfo: “The case is not over, but logically, the second appeals court should notice that the whole procedure is disloyal and that almost all the case is over, at least for Karim Benzema.”

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