Benzema Scores Twice as Zidane Appeals for Controversial France Call-Up

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Karim Benzema scored two goals for the second straight league game to ease Real Madrid past Celta Vigo on Saturday, marking six straight appearances with a goal for the forward. 

The French striker's form this season—he's third in La Liga with 17 goals—has led France national team legend and Real manager Zinedine Zidane to question why the forward hasn't been called up to the French national team with the world champions starting their 2022 World Cup qualifying on Wednesday against Ukraine,

“How can you understand that?" Zidane asked in his post-match press conference. "I don’t understand it, you don’t understand it and neither do many others. For me, as Real Madrid manager, I prefer that he stays with us. 

"What he did today with his teammates was spectacular and I’m really pleased for him because he works hard and has the desire for more, just like the whole team does. We went for it from the first minute and we deserved the victory."

But Benzema hasn't featured for Les Bleus since 2015 due to an ongoing sex tape scandal involving him and former French national teammate Mathieu Valbuena. In January, the Associated Press reported that Benzema will face trial on one charge of “complicity in attempted blackmail" after allegedly pressuring Valbuena to pay blackmailers who threatened to release an intimate video of the midfielder.

Saturday's away win brings Los Blancos into second place, three points behind rival Atlético Madrid. When Real Madrid emerge from the upcoming international break, it will have gone two months without a loss, but a Champions League quarterfinal date with Liverpool on April 6 in the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals awaits Real in a highly anticipated rematch of the 2018 final.