Karim Benzema retains hopes of playing return for France
Karim Benzema has not given up hope of playing for France at next year's World Cup.
The Real Madrid striker has been exiled from the national team since being placed under investigation in November 2015 on suspicion of involvement in an alleged blackmail plot against France team-mate Mathieu Valbuena.
An order banning him from any contact with Valbuena was lifted last February and national team coach Didier Deschamps acknowledged Benzema was once again "selectable" - but decided not to take up that option ahead of Euro 2016 and has not changed his mind since.
Deschamps signed a two-year contract extension on Tuesday and has shown little sign of changing tack on Benzema, who has scored only twice in 10 appearances for Real this season.
But Benzema told French culture magazine Les Inrockuptibles: "Of course I want to return to the France team. What footballer would not want to play at a World Cup?
" I am trying to be the best I can with my club and we will see what comes of it. Talking is no use and can be misinterpreted. I will not say any more, I will try to perform well and win trophies."
The 29-year-old, who has scored 27 goals in 81 games for his country, continued to rail against his treatment.
"I cannot understand the perception of me in France," he said. "But I don't think I will succeed in changing it.
"There are a small minority who take pleasure in saying anything about me on a daily basis (because) it boosts ratings or sells newspapers."