French Football Federation (FFF) president Noel Le Graet has defended his stance on Karim Benzema and claimed the Real Madrid striker has been victimised by the media.
Benzema has been charged with complicity in an attempt to blackmail and participating in a criminal conspiracy as part of an investigation into a sex-tape plot involving France team-mate Mathieu Valbuena.
The 28-year-old is currently suspended from national-team duty by the FFF pending the results of the investigation and could miss out on the European Championship in his home country later this year.
Le Graet has dismissed criticism of the FFF’s handling of the issue and hinted he retains a soft spot for Benzema.
He told L’Equipe 21: “Those who say it has been badly managed, that is their problem. We are straight-up people in the Federation despite the fact we are often attacked.
“This case is disappointing and it hurts us and, yes, there is affection [for Benzema]. But because I love him it’s like I have become dishonest.
“But I manage this situation as I see fit. I’ve always been pretty close to Benzema because I knew about his childhood difficulties.
“Maybe I have that side of me. But I have never seen such media treatment. Never.”