The remainder of 2015 went by in a blur. Mathieu Valbuena had chosen Le Monde to break his silence on Benzema and the blackmail-sex tape affair. Valbuena did everything right in filing a legal complaint and he admitted how skeptical he was when it came to the so-call sex tape. Marcus was reading the interview online via his iPhone as he sat in the passenger seat of his brother’s Porsche 918 Spyder. He laughed and shook his head.
“Valbuena is a feisty little man,” he said as Ray drove onto an unpaved road. The twins were spending time with family and friends at their very own personal Château da Díxon in Bordeaux. They needed to unwind, but Marcus never stopped following the team. He told the FFF whenever anything came up even if it wasn’t serious, once it concerned his boys; he wanted to be the first to know. “I’m not surprised that Nasri is mentioned.”
“Huh?” Ray asked as he continued to maneuver the car on the long winding road. The magnificent 18th century Château finally came into view, a French flag planted firmly on the roof furiously fluttering in the wind.
“It says here, that Nasri offered to play the role of an intermediary in Benzema’s place. And I quote Valbuena ‘When you are in a racketeering situation and you find names like that, it is almost as if you are among idiots.’” Marcus laughed. “However, I do agree with him when he says that justice is for everyone.”
A little redhead girl with skin as smooth as Baileys Irish Cream came running towards the twins just as Ray parked the car. “Hey, baby girl!” Ray smiled as his niece climbed into the car and deposited herself in his lap. He wound his arms around her and kissed her rosy cheeks.
“Ashley beat you at FIFA again?” Marcus asked.
“Yes,” the little girl folded her arms and pouted. “She’s cheating!”
Ray chuckled. “So much for unwinding,”
“Don’t worry, Adeline, we’ll teach you how to play FIFA and beat Ashley.” Marcus got out of the car and picked the little girl off his brother’s lap. “Let’s go.”
A few days later, Le Monde had exclusively obtained a transcript of what Benzema said to judge Nathalie Boutard. Marcus nastily scowled at his tablet as he read the transcript. “Benzema is a disgrace to French football,” he grumbled as he swirled the glass of red wine in his hand. “His goose is as good as roasted.”
On December 10th 2015, FFF president Noël Le Graët announced that Benzema was suspended from national team duties. The striker chose to accept the suspension via social media.
At the Euro 2016 draw, France was drawn in Group A with Albania, Switzerland, and Romania. Marcus thought it was a good draw and called his opponents strong ones. When the media said France got an easy draw, Marcus retaliated and called them fools for “this was disrespect to the other teams,” he firmly believes that France had to work for it for “we are no clear favorites. The media is saying this because we’re hosting the tournament.”
Ray waved at some of the journalists clamoring for his and Marcus’s attention as they attended the Ballon d’Or ceremony. Marcus didn’t want to attend in the first place and he took the longest to get ready. In the end, he decided on a black turtleneck sweater and soft black pants. His twin wore a blue suit with the jacket undone, a white shirt underneath two buttons undone at the top showing off a little chest. The female journalist who was trying her hardest to avert her eyes while interviewing him kept failing.
“What do you think of Zidane being the Madrid coach?” a Spanish journalist asked the head coach.
Marcus cheekily grinned. “He wants my job. He wants the France job. The Madrid job is just a cover up. A step forward.”
“Do you think Zlatan changed the Ligue 1?”
“The only thing I’m sure he changes is his underwear. Changing Ligue 1? Non. There was nothing to change about it in the first place. He can’t singlehandedly win PSG the Champions League. He flops in big games and doesn’t deliver for Sweden. Maybe when he leaves PSG they’ll finally win the CL.”
The journalist thanked the French coach for his time and moved on just as Pogba walked over with his mother. “Coach!” the delighted young man was beaming. “I want you to meet my mom.”
“Hello, how do you do?” Marcus shook the woman’s hand warmly as they proceeded to chat up a storm. Pogba watched as his mother and the coach carried on suddenly feeling left out. He looked this way and that way for a familiar face. He spied Ray, but he was flirting right back with a female journalist. He shrugged and walked away from the chattering. When his mother finally caught up with him, she was giddy with happiness.
“He’s such a nice young man!” she chirped. “He commended you and admires your work ethic.”
Pogba smiled. “Coach is cool. He can be a little crazy, but he has our best interests at heart. Does it calm your doubts now?”
Inside, Marcus barely paid attention to the ceremony instead devoting his time to playing a brain game on his iPhone. Ray, on the other hand, shook hands with Cristiano, warmly chatted up Messi in Spanish, and even spoke Portuguese to the young Brazilian who was touted as the next big thing, Neymar. When he finally claimed his seat next to the mirror identical twin, Marcus was almost asleep. Ray nudged him in the side. Marcus grumbled, “The ceremony is a farce. It’s almost always between Leo and that man from Portugal because they’re the only two footballers in the world. Why can’t they just hand Leo the stupid award and let us be on our way already?”
Messi was eventually crowned the winner, and Marcus made a face as his brother applauded with everyone else.
After the Ballon d’Or, the votes were released to the public. Marcus votes had gone to three French players: Hugo Lloris, Paul Pogba, and Karim Benzema. Social media didn’t let him rest easy that evening.
^ This was kind of a filler chapter.
REMEMBER, THIS IS FICTION & IT IS IN NO WAY ASSOCIATED WITH LES BLEUS OR THE FFF.