Karim Benzema: Real Madrid star accused of blackmail in Mathieu Valbuena sex tape case

    Benzema (pictured wearing hood) risks missing out on next year's European Championship finals in France.

    Story highlights

    • Karim Benzema under police investigation
    • Real Madrid star accused of blackmail
    • Benzema's attorney says client is innocent

    (CNN)One of the world's leading football players is accused of blackmailing a fellow France international footballer.

    French police are looking into whether Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema played a part in an alleged attempt to extort money from Marseille player Mathieu Valbuena.
      The allegations center around a purported sex tape, a source close to the investigation told AFP.
      Benzema is under investigation for "complicity in blackmailing and participating in criminal association with intent to organize a crime," according to a statement from the Versailles prosecutor's office.
      The statement used the French term "mise en examen" -- a legal status that allows prosecutors to investigate someone accused of criminal activity for up to two years.
      Benzema plays his football at Real Madrid
      Benzema's attorney Sylvain Cormier says the 27-year-old has "taken no part in this blackmail attempt," and that the case has gone public "in a fallacious manner."
      "His heart goes to his friend Mathieu Valbuena," Cormier said in a statement broadcast on BMTV.
      Benzema appeared before a Versailles judge Thursday morning after being held overnight.
      Prosecutors say he has received a probation order and is not allowed to contact Valbuena.
      Both players were left out of the France squad for this month's friendly international matches Germany and England.
      Benzema could also potentially miss the 2016 European Championship finals which will be held in France next June and July. He has represented his country on 81 occasions and was a key part of the squad for last year's World Cup in Brazil.
      Real and Valbuena did not immediately respond to CNN's request for comment.