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Barcelona forward Antoine Griezmann has defended Olivier Giroud after Karim Benzema’s ‘go-kart’ jibe at his France team-mate, stating the Chelsea player was vital in France’s 2018 World Cup success.

Real Madrid star Benzema used an unflattering motor racing analogy to describe the perceived difference in quality between himself and Giroud, who replaced him in the France team.

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In a chat on Instagram Live video this week, Benzema said: “You don’t confuse Formula One with go karting. And I’m being kind. Next… and I know I’m F1.”

And when asked to explain his comments on Tuesday, Benzema happily doubled down on his criticism.

“About Giroud, I simply told the truth,” Benzema said.

“But we didn’t remember what I said about him, especially about what he brings to the French national team. We just remembered the moment when I said I was F1 and he was karting.

“That’s what I think, that’s the truth, and that’s how it is.”

But Griezmann, who has played alongside both players for the French national team, backed Giroud, subtly pointing out that he was a World Cup winner.

“I can’t answer all that, that could get me into trouble,” Griezmann said on Twitch.

“I love Olivier Giroud, he’s a good player and he helped us win the World Cup. And that’s important in life.”

While both Giroud and Griezmann were part of the France squad that lifted the World Cup in Russia two years ago, Benzema has been exiled from the team since 2015 after being accused of blackmailing former team-mate Mathieu Valbuena in a sex tape scandal. 

Giroud didn’t score during the World Cup tournament despite starting all seven of France’s games, but his all round contribution was important for Didier Deschamps’ team.

In all, the Chelsea man has scored 39 goals in 97 appearances for Les Blues, while Benzema had 27 in 81 games before being exiled.

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