The implications of the Karim Benzema scandal

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Karim Benzema, one of the best strikers in the world and a regular starter for Real Madrid, has been in court for a charge relating to a sex tape.

For Madrid, this has the making of a PR disaster and the club could be forced into making a difficult decision.

The incident itself involves France teammate Mathieu Valbuena, but the exact role Benzema played is unclear. After spending the night in police custody before facing a judge this week, the reality is it's not looking good for the striker.

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Such incidents are seemingly becoming more frequent for modern footballers, with Luis Suarez's bite at the World Cup another recent scandal to have hit the football world. Liverpool decided the time had come to sell the player and avoid any more damage to the club's image and reputation.

The question must now regard whether his Spanish employers will look to take the same approach. As one of the biggest football clubs in world football, image and reputation are paramount to its continued success on and off the field.

Benzema is a world-class player and an important part of the Real Madrid team.

However, for a club of such size and financial muscle, finding an equally good replacement is possible. There would be no shortage of interest for the 27-year-old, with Arsenal just one side that have shown interest in the player previously.

Of course if Benzema is cleared of all wrong doing, this problem will go away fairly swiftly. However, if the Frenchman is charged, Madrid will have a big decision to make.

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Is the French international worth the potential damage to the club's reputation? Or should they cut their losses and let him go to a potential rival?

In the meantime, the Spanish side will be hoping the trial provides a favourable outcome, otherwise the real test for this football giant will begin.

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