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Clubs back under-fire football stars

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Clubs back under-fire football stars
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Karim Benzema’s Real Madrid colleagues lept to his defence on Wednesday.

The nine-time European champions have said the former Lyon forward has their “total support” in the French police investigation as sporting director Jorge Valdano explained.

“We are very relaxed about this. We will support our player no matter what happens because we believe he is innocent,” Valdano said.

Real’s Argentine centre-back Ezequiel Garay said the squad were just concentrating on pre-season training rather than the scandal engulfing their teammate.

“He has to resolve it and whatever he has agreed with the club is something between him and them. We need to keep away from this,” Garay told reporters.

German champions Bayern Munich have also mounted a bullish defence of Franck Ribery.

The Bavarian club’s sporting director Christian Nerlinger admitted the case was “annoying” ahead of the new season, but believed the under-fire Frenchman was innocent.

Nerlinger said: “We are convinced that now he has testified, the case is buried.”