Former France international Mathieu Valbuena told a court Wednesday “I felt in danger” after the sextape affair.

The trial of French soccer player Karim Benzema and four others began Wednesday outside Paris, without the Real Madrid forward in attendance.

Benzema’s legal team told the court in Versailles that his obligations as a player made it “impossible” for him to attend the first day of the trial, which is scheduled to last through Friday.

France striker Benzema is accused of complicity in an attempt to extort money from Valbuena over a video that was copied from his smartphone in 2015.

The 33-year-old Benzema and four others are being prosecuted for an alleged blackmail attempt in 2015. Valbuena was in court on Wednesday.

The affair rocked the French nationwide crew and ended in the 33-year-old Madrid megastar being forged out of the facet for five-and-a-half years sooner than creating a wonder comeback this year.

Benzema was not present in court for the start of proceedings in Versailles on Wednesday, having previously labelled the charge against him a “masquerade”.

Valbuena was in attendance, and explained his motives in informing the authorities of his old France’s team-mate’s alleged blackmail scheme.

“I felt in danger and my instinct was to file a complaint,” he told reporters on the first day of the trial on Wednesday.

“Football is my life. I knew that if this video came out it was going to be difficult for me with the French team.”

“When he [Benzema] told me he wanted to talk to me, I did not think he would talk to me about that. When I had that conversation, I came out of the room, I was shocked. I felt that he insisted that I meet with a person who was to act as an intermediary. His trusted person (Karim Zenati). He was very insistent.”

“It’s been six years that we have had this case. I see that everyone is there, almost. Karim is missing. It’s a shame, but that’s how it is.

“We have been waiting for six years. We are there for the time it takes for all of this to be behind me.”

If the Real Madrid striker is found guilty of complicity to attempted blackmail, he could receive a jail sentence of up to five years.

The Frenchman will also receive a €75,000 (£63,400) fine if convicted, with the trial set to continue through to the end of the week.

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