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Court drops charges in Ribery, Benzema sex case

A Paris court on Thursday dropped the case against French footballers Karim Benzema and Franck Ribery, who had been accused of having sex with underage prostitute Zahia Dehar. The court also dropped the case against Ribery's brother-in-law, but handed down sentences ranging from three months suspended to one year plus an extra year suspended to five others accused of pimping. Bayern Munich and France winger Ribery's lawyer, Carlo Alberto Brusa, said that his client "had goosebumps" when he was told the news.

Football: Benzema edges Real Madrid towards Cup semis

Real Madrid took a huge step towards the Copa del Rey semi-finals with a 1-0 win away to Espanyol in the first-leg of their quarter-final tie on Tuesday. Karim Benzema got the only goal of the game as he headed home Alvaro Arbeloa's cross on 25 minutes. Espanyol were indebted to goalkeeper Kiko Casilla for not having an even greater deficit to overcome next Tuesday at the Santiago Bernabeu as he made a string of fine saves to keep his side in the tie.

Football: Benzema brushes off goal drought

France forward Karim Benzema insisted he is unconcerned about his international goal drought ahead of a friendly against Australia and Les Bleus' final World Cup qualifier at home to Finland. The Real Madrid frontman has not found the back of the net for his country since June 5, 2012 and was dropped by coach Didier Deschamps for the 4-2 win in Belarus last month that ensured France of at least second spot in Group I.

French joy tainted by Benzema problem

By Julien Pretot (Reuters) - France should only be celebrating after a 3-1 win against Georgia in a World Cup qualifier on Friday, combined with Spain's 1-1 draw against Finland, but Karim Benzema's scoring drought is a reason for concern. The Real Madrid striker has not found the net in his last 11 games for Les Bleus and while three of the offensive quartet - Mathieu Valbuena, Olivier Giroud and Franck Ribery - scored goals, Benzema once again proved too clumsy.

Football: Benzema fined 18,000 euros for speeding

Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema has been fined 18,000 euros ($23,335, £15,580) and banned from driving for eight months after being caught speeding, a Spanish court confirmed on Friday. The court in Alcorcon, near Madrid, found the French international guilty of driving at 194.4 kilometres (120.8 miles) per hour -- more than 80kmph over the limit -- in the early hours on Sunday, February 3.

Football: Benzema caught speeding in Madrid - police

Real Madrid's French striker Karim Benzema has been charged with speeding at more than 200 kilometres an hour (134 mph) on a Spanish motorway, police said Thursday. A traffic camera caught Benzema speeding at 216 kph in a 100 kph zone on the highway in the upmarket Madrid suburb of Pozuelo de Alarcon on February 3, a source in the civil guard told AFP. "He was charged with an offence against traffic safety. He will go to court and the judicial authorities will impose the appropriate penalty," said the source, who asked not to be named.

Football: Benzema hopeful of making Barca clash

Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema is hopeful of being fit for the Spanish champions' clash with Barcelona on Tuesday night. Benzema did not travel with his teammates for Saturday's away trip to Deportivo in La Liga due to a knee problem and his presence would be missed in midweek with their Copa del Rey semi-final with Barca finely poised after a 1-1 draw in the first leg. "I am working hard and with a lot of hope to rejoin the team as soon as possibile in this crucial week," he told the club's website.

Soccer-Goalshy Benzema still has plenty to offer, says Deschamps

By Julien Pretot PARIS, Feb 5 (Reuters) - Karim Benzema has not scored for France in eight months but coach Didier Deschamps is confident the striker can make a positive contribution in Wednesday's friendly against Germany. Benzema netted 21 goals in 34 La Liga games for Real last season but has proved far less prolific this term, scoring only five goals in 18 league matches. Benzema's last goals for France came in June when the 25-year-old struck twice in a friendly against Estonia.
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