Posted in Les Bleus, My Footy Stuff/Banter

The problem with Benzema and Ben Arfa has nothing to do with ethnicity

Eric Cantona recently made a statement indicating that Didier Deschamps is racist towards Karim Benzema and Hatem Ben Arfa because of their origins.

Cantona can rival Zlatan in terms of big headed egos and silly remarks (“I am not a man. I am Cantona.”), but Cantona needs to know when to shut his mouth. He and Didier have a long history of animosity and he feels the need to come out now and make smart remarks.

“Benzema is a great player. Ben Arfa is a great player. 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.”

I am also allowed to think that this statement is downright stupid and racially motivated. What does Deschamps having a really French name have to do with anything? What does Deschamps having a very French name  have to do with his family not mixing with anyone outside of French? The coach has been under pressure, not only from Prime Minister Valls, but from many fans who feel that Benzema shouldn’t represent France in the Euro, given that scandals seem to rock the French boat whenever a major tournament is around the corner.

As a fan of Les Bleus, I was not looking forward to Benzema’s inclusion on the team. Nor was I looking forward to Valbuena’s. Deschamps was right not to include both players given their involvement in a blackmail scandal. We can’t have this mess following and plaguing us during the tournament. Some fans might take it upon themselves to rain abuse on both players if they decide not to get along and affect the synching chemistry of the team. As for Ben Arfa, he can be a liability in the dressing room at times, but I think he has changed some and we can only thank OGC Nice for this. Merci Claude Puel. However, DD is not messing around by taking chances. The man is doing everything possible in his power to prevent a mutiny situation like 2010.

Omitting Benzema and Ben Arfa has nothing to do with their background.

Concerning the team, I don’t see everyone wearing a French surname. Our team is simply beautiful because of their diverse background. Even if we’re perhaps the only European team to field a first of all African descendants, we’re still beautiful.

Deschamps’ lawyer is contemplating suing Cantona for his out of timing remarks, but if I were Deschamps, I’ll let my team talk on the pitch. Cantona can take his arrogance and shove it. Don’t let the race card win.

Marcel Desailly et Deschamps



My heart simply beats football.

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