France international Mathieu Valbuena has spoken in detail about Karim Benzema's alleged involvement in the blackmail case that could see the Real Madrid striker spend five years behind bars.
The trial involving Benzema and four other defendants began on Wednesday, although the Los Blancos star stood trial in absentia after he played his part in his side's 5-0 UEFA Champions League win over Shakhtar Donetsk on Tuesday night.
The Les Bleus forward, who has maintained his innocence throughout, faces a potential five years in jail and a £63 000 (R1.2 million) fine if found guilty of being complicit in an attempt to blackmail Valbuena with a sex tape in 2015, per 90min.com.
While Benzema was not present for the start of the trial, the Olympiacos midfielder has explained why he alerted the authorities to the blackmail scheme the striker was allegedly part of.
Scroll through the gallery below to see 11 past and present footballers who were arrested last year
"I felt in danger and my instinct was to file a complaint," Valbuena told reporters 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."