Real Madrid star Karim Benzema has been found guilty of conspiring to blackmail his former teammate Mathieu Valbuena with a sex tape in a bombshell case that has rocked French football.

The striker was handed a one-year suspended sentence and a €75,000 (£63,000) fine by the judge this morning, in a sentence harsher than the one sought by prosecutors.

The France international was one of five people on trial in Versailles, near Paris, over the 2015 extortion attempt over a sexually explicit video that was stolen from Valbuena’s phone.

Benzema said he only wanted to help his friend when he asked him about the sex tape from the French team’s training center in October 2015. He told him that he would help find someone who could’manage the problem’. 

When the trial concluded last month prosecutors had demanded Benzema, who was not present during the court proceedings, be given a 10-month suspended sentence and a fine of €75,000.

Real Madrid star Karim Benzema (pictured) has been found guilty of complicity in an attempt to blackmail fellow player Mathieu Valbuena

Real Madrid’s star player Karim Benzema has been found guilty in an attempted blackmailing of Mathieu Vallbuena.

Investigators alleged that Benzema (right) encouraged Valbuena (left) to pay a group of alleged blackmailers in order to keep a sexually explicit tape out of the public eye

Investigators claimed that Benzema (right), encouraged Valbuena, (left), to pay a group alleged blackmailers for the purpose of keeping a sexually explicit cassette out of public view 

The maximum sentence the former Lyon striker could have received was a five-year term in prison and €90,000 (£75,000) fine. 

Benzema’s attorney stated that the lawyer would file an appeal against the 74 page verdict. 

Judge said that although Benzema wasn’t aware of all the details, the contents of his conversation at Clairfontaine and Valbuena show that he was involved in subterfuge.

Benzema had previously denied any wrongdoing and was not present in court during the proceedings. 

Later in the day, he will play against Sheriff Tiraspol from Moldova for Spain.

The court’s decision won’t have an immediate impact on Benzema’s future sporting activities. 

After an outstanding season in Madrid, the forward is considered one of the favorites to win the Ballon d’Or Award on November 29, 2009 in Paris. 

Lawyer Antoine Vey said that this outcome does not match the reality of events.

Valbuena (pictured right outside courts last month) said the affair - which saw him and Benzema excluded from the national team - had left him feeling 'frightened' and fearful for his career

Valbuena is pictured just outside the courts in October. He said the scandal, which left him and Benzema out of the national team, had left him feeling frightened and worried about his career.

Benzema's lawyer Antoine Vey is pictured at the court in Versailles on Wednesday morning

Benzema’s lawyer, Antoine Vey, is pictured in Versailles at Wednesday morning

The judge said Benzema's motive was not money but his unwavering bond with his childhood friend Karim Zenati (pictured)

Judge Benzema stated that Benzema was motivated by his friendship with Karim Zenati, his childhood friend (pictured).

Real Madrid has not yet responded to my request for comment.

All four of the other defendants (including Karim Zenati who was Benzema’s childhood friend) were found guilty. However, they did not attend Wednesday’s court appearance. 

The punishments they received ranged from an 18-month suspension sentence to two years imprisonment.   

Noel Le Graet is the French FA president. He recently claimed that the result of the trial will not have an impact on Benzema’s chances of being selected for the French national soccer team.

Valbuena, who testified at the beginning of the trial said that the scandal, in which Benzema and he were excluded from the national squad, left Valbuena feeling ‘frightened’ and worried about his career. 

The judge stated that Benzema was motivated by Zenati’s unwavering love and not his money. 

The expected gains from the blackmail plot were €150,000.

Benzema said to Zenati, his friend who was being accused of working as a middleman for blackmailers, that he didn’t take them seriously in a wiretapped conversation.

Benzema (pictured in training on Tuesday) was on trial in France over the 2015 extortion attempt over a sexually explicit video that was stolen from Valbuena's phone

Benzema was seen in training on Tuesday as he was being tried in France for an extortion plot over a 2015 video with explicit content that had been taken from Valbuena’s cell phone.

Benzema, according to the prosecution, was found complicit. But his lawyer stated that the conversation showed that the footballer had not shown a complete lack of contrition.

Vey said that they never meant to say he was kind, but that it was not a criminal offense.

Benzema, in an interview conducted with investigators 2015, denied any involvement and asked why he would.

“I have enough money.” He said, “I don’t have it.” 

Didier Deschamps dropped Benzema from France’s national soccer team after he had been charged with preliminary offenses in November 2015. 

Benzema missed the 2016 European Championships and the 2018 World Cup. France won the 2018 World Cup.

Deschamps recalled Benzema before the Euro 2020 delay and has been fielding him ever since.