Richie McCormack
Richie McCormack

20.39 13 Sep 2021


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A judge in France has dismissed a libel case brought by Didier Deschamps against former teammate Eric Cantona. 

The current France head coach felt he had been accused of racial discrimination by the ex-Manchester United striker.

During a 2016 interview with The Guardian, Cantona claimed Deschamps was not picking Karim Benzema or Hatem Ben Arfa on racial grounds.

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“Benzema is a great player. Ben Arfa is a great player," Cantona said, "But Deschamps, he has a really French name. Maybe he is the only one in France to have a truly French name. Nobody in his family mixed with anybody, you know. Like the Mormons in America.

“So I’m not surprised he used the situation of Benzema not to take him. Especially after Valls said he should not play for France. And Ben Arfa is maybe the best player in France today. But they have some origins. I am allowed to think about that.”

Benzema had been left out of the France squad at the time due to his alleged involvement in a blackmail case involving another French player, Mathieu Valbuena.

The Real Madrid forward has since made amends with Deschamps and returned to the squad for Euro 2020. However, he's due to stand trial in October.

Deschamps' case against Cantona was already declared void in December of 2020 for procedural reasons. He appealed that ruling, but the court of appeal has dismissed his case.

While Deschamps made no case regards the ruling, Cantona's legal team released a statement, saying: ""Mr Eric Cantona, who has always taken responsibility for what he's said in the past, welcomes this victory which puts an end to a procedure that he considered unfounded."

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Didier Deschamps Eric Cantona France Hatem Ben Arfa Karim Benzema

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