MADRID (AFP) - Karim Benzema has been left out of coach Rafael Benitez's squad for Real Madrid's trip to Sevilla on Sunday just days after he was charged in an extortion case involving a sex tape featuring fellow French international Mathieu Valbuena.
Benzema returned to Madrid on Thursday after spending the night in custody in Versailles, outside Paris, charged with complicity to blackmail and conspiring to commit a criminal act.
The 27-year-old has not featured for Real since injuring his hamstring on international duty a month ago and Benitez insisted it was his physical rather than mental well-being that forced him to leave Benzema behind in Madrid.
"Benzema is in the final part of his recovery. We have decided to leave him here to finish his recuperation until he is 100 per cent," Benitez said on Saturday. "He will be working with the team in the coming days to be in perfect condition for what we have ahead."
Benzema will remain in the Spanish capital for the next two weeks ahead of Real's blockbuster clash with Barcelona on Nov 21 after being left out of French coach Didier Deschamps' squad on Thursday for friendlies against Germany and England.
Real also released a statement upon his return to training on Thursday offering their full support to their star striker, who has scored 141 goals for the club since joining from Lyon in 2009.
"We can't speculate, but what we know is that as of today he still needs a little bit of time to be fit. We have two weeks to come so we are not going to risk him and because of that he isn't in the squad," said Benitez. "We know how Karim is and I think the club and all his team-mates have shown they are with him and we support him."
On a brighter note for the Spanish giants, Benitez confirmed that Gareth Bale and James Rodriguez are in the squad for the trip to Andalucia.
Bale has been sidelined for the past three weeks due to a calf problem. Rodriguez returned to the squad for the first time in two months in a 1-0 win over Paris Saint-Germain in midweek, but is yet to feature as he was an unused substitute against the French champions.