'I'm happy with what I have' – Algeria coach dodges Benzema call-up question

The French-born forward has been frozen out of the national team picture since 2015 and has been at odds with FFF president Noel Le Graet ever since

Algeria coach Djamel Belmadi has said he is happy with the players at his disposal when asked if he would like to see Karim Benzema lead the line for the Desert Foxes.

The Real Madrid forward, who has 81 caps for France, recently responded to French Football Federation president Noel Le Graet’s assertion that Benzema’s ‘adventure with France is over’.

The striker took to social media, telling Le Graet: “If you think that I am finished, let me play for a country that I am eligible to play for and we will see.”

Of course, being cap-tied to France means that could never happen, but Benzema has been at odds with Le Graet since being frozen out of the French squad since 2015.

His international exclusion was part of the fallout from a sex tape dispute with Mathieu Valbuena that first saw Benzema dropped down the pecking order before eventually being excluded entirely.

The former Lyon forward has maintained his goalscoring form for Real Madrid during his international exile, scoring 30 goals for Los Blancos last season and already has 11 in 15 appearances this term.

Though he was born in France, Benzema is of Algerian descent, which could have seen him represent the country of his ancestry had he not represented Les Bleus in a competitive fixture.

However, when the striker’s comments were put to Fennecs coach Belmadi, the boss pointed to the raft of forward talent he already has within his ranks.

“For now, we have [Baghdad] Bounedjah, Islam [Slimani], [Andy] Delort [and Hillal] Soudani,” the French-born coach, who represented Algeria at international level as a player, told reporters. “I am very happy with the players I have.”

Benzema represented France at every youth level except Under-16s, before scoring on his debut for the senior side in a friendly against Austria in March 2007.

He was part of the France squad for the 2008 and 2012 European Championships, as well as the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

His last appearance for the world champions was a 4-0 friendly win against Armenia in October 2015, where he scored two goals to take his international tally to 27.