Real Madrid forward Karim Benzema. [Photo: Reuters]

Real Madrid forward Karim Benzema has been included in France’s squad for the European Championship in a surprise move by coach Didier Deschamps on Tuesday.

Benzema, who has scored 29 goals in all competitions for Real this season, has not played for Les Bleus since 2015 after a blackmailing scandal over which he faces a trial in October.

He also said in 2016 that Deschamps had “bowed to the pressure of a racist part of France” when leaving the forward out of the Euro squad that year.

The 33-year-old Benzema, who has 27 goals in 81 games for France, features in the 26-man squad alongside fellow forwards Antoine Griezmann, Kylian Mbappe, Kingsley Coman, Olivier Giroud, Ousmane Dembele, Wissam Ben Yedder and Marcus Thuram.

While Deschamps had not picked Benzema since October 2015 and said he would “never forget” his comments, the France coach had never stated that he would not call him up again.

Benzema was named best French player in a foreign league by the French professional footballers’ union on Sunday.

Euro 2020, which has been delayed by a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, starts on June 11.

France are in Group F with Germany, Hungary and Portugal.

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This file photo taken on September 06, 2013 shows France’s forward Karim Benzema (R) leaving the pitch next to France’s head coach Didier Deschamps during the FIFA World Cup 2014 qualifying football match Georgia vs France at the Boris Paichadze stadium in Tbilisi. Benzema on June 1, 2016, accused coach Didier Deschamps of bowing to pressure from a “racist” political party by not choosing him for the country’s Euro 2016 squad. [AFP PHOTO / FRANCK FIFE]

Squad:

Goalkeepers: Hugo Lloris (Tottenham Hotspur); Mike Maignan (Lille); Steve Mandanda (Olympique de Marseille)

Defenders: Lucas Digne (Everton); Leo Dubois (Olympique Lyonnais); Lucas Hernandez (Bayern Munich); Presnel Kimpembe (Paris St Germain); Jules Kounde (Sevilla); Clement Lenglet (Barcelona); Benjamin Pavard (Bayern Munich); Raphael Varane (Real Madrid); Kurt Zouma (Chelsea)

Midfielders: Ngolo Kante (Chelsea); Thomas Lemar (Atletico Madrid); Paul Pogba (Manchester United); Adrien Rabiot (Juventus); Moussa Sissoko (Tottenham Hotspur); Corentin Tolisso (Bayern Munich)

Forwards: Wissam Ben Yedder (Monaco); Karim Benzema (Real Madrid); Kingsley Coman (Bayern Munich); Ousmane Dembele (Barcelona); Olivier Giroud (Chelsea); Antoine Griezmann (Barcelona); Kylian Mbappe (Paris St Germain); Marcus Thuram (Borussia Moenchengladbach) 

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