Karim Benzema has not confessed to Valbuena blackmail - lawyer

Karim Benzema's lawyer denied reports on Friday that the Real Madrid striker had confessed to telling France teammate Mathieu Valbuena that he should hand over money to people attempting to blackmail him.

Benzema, 27, was charged with conspiracy to blackmail on Thursday as part of an investigation as part of an investigation over a sex tape involving Valbuena.

Several French media outlets cited police sources as saying that Benzema was approached by a childhood friend to act as an intermediary between the blackmailers and the Lyon attacker.

However, Benzema's lawyer Sylvain Cormier said the reports are not true.

"I read the rumours and heard talk of a confession but that's false -- it's absolutely not his position," he told L'Equipe.

Instead, Cormier said Benzema made a "friendly intervention" to tell Valbuena "not to let himself be messed around."

Cormier suggested that Valbuena would be able to verify this version of events and also told Le Parisien: "Mathieu Valbuena was heard [by police] on Oct. 28 and never spoke of his exchange with my client. And the police didn't ask him any questions about this conversation."

Preliminary charges under French law mean magistrates have strong reason to believe a crime was committed, and allow time for further investigation. The charges may later be dropped.

Benzema was also placed under judicial supervision, meaning he cannot meet with the victim -- Valbuena -- or other people charged in the case. He can, however, continue to live abroad and travel freely, so Real Madrid should not be affected by the charges.

Benzema returned to Spain and resumed light training with Real Madrid later on Thursday, with the Spanish giants publishing a picture of the striker doing some ball work on its Twitter feed.

Madrid said in a statement that club president Florentino Perez met with Benzema and showed his "full support" for the player and expressed his belief in the Frenchman's "innocence."

"The Real Madrid C. F. president, Florentino Perez, held a meeting with the player in which he gave him his full support and expressed his confidence that his actions were in good faith and that he is completely innocent," the club statement read.

"The club values and recognises the professional commitment, the displays of camaraderie with his team-mates and the impeccable attitude he has shown as a core member of the first team squad for the more than six seasons that he has been a part of Real Madrid."

France coach Didier Deschamps on Thursday said he left Benzema out of the squad due to injury.

Meanwhile, French Football Federation president Noel Le Graet made an appeal for objectivity in the way the case has been reported in France.

"I find that we're condemning Benzema too quickly," he said in L'Equipe. "There are proceedings ongoing that I don't know the outcome of. At this stage, Karim has the sporting support of the federation.

"He's a great player, who brings a lot to the French team. And I'd remind you of the presumption of innocence that he should benefit from. A football player has the same rights as a politician or a big businessman."

Benzema's entourage has become a talking point as a result of the case and Le Graet cautioned that the player will have to be more careful in future.

"I regret what's happening," he said. "I'm not happy at all. The image sent out is not good. But no one can confirm that there is wrongdoing on his part.

"I love Benzema even though he should maybe improve some of the company he keeps."

Thierry Braillard, the French sports minister, said Deschamps was wise to leave Valbuena out of his squad for this month's friendly matches against Germany and England.

"I think that Didier Deschamps is right to protect his players," L'Equipe quoted Braillard as saying. "These non-sport stories can have an impact on the French team. As usual, Deschamps is handling the situation intelligently."