Abidal: Benching Benzema isn’t an option

The 34-year-old has backed the France striker to rekindle his form ahead of clashes with Australia and Finland, despite his 15-game run without a goal for the national team

Monaco defender Eric Abidal has jumped to the defence of struggling France striker Karim Benzema, saying his drought and lack of confidence will not be solved by dropping him.

The Real Madrid forward has been under-fire, as his goalless run with les Bleus has reached a staggering 15 games, with his last goal coming in a friendly against Estonia in June 2012.

France coach Didier Deschamps decided to drop the former Lyon striker in favour of Olivier Giroud in their most recent qualifier, a 4-2 demolition of Belarus, but he could be in line to play against Australia and Finland, and Abidal has urged Deschamps to keep faith with the 25-year-old.

“I don’t think leaving him on the bench or in the stands is the solution,” he told beINSport.

Despite his well-documented struggles at international level, Benzema’s record with Madrid is more reassuring for Deschamps, with four goals and four assists this season, and has been called up for France’s friendly with Australia and their final qualifier against Finland.

Abidal, who spent six seasons with Barcelona, also offered his thoughts on Atletico Madrid’s form, suggesting their sizzling start has come as no surprise to him.

He added: “Atletico Madrid have always been a good team and they deserve the good start to the season they are having.”

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