Real Madrid forward Karim Benzema won't have much time to celebrate his goal in last night's 5-0 victory against Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League group stage. Just a few hours later, his case goes on trial in Versailles for his alleged involvement in a blackmail attempt on former France international teammate Mathieu Valbuena.

Benzema has been embroiled in the controversy since it first broke out in 2015. The player has maintained his innocence and his lawyers have been working to prove that he was not an accomplice but was just trying to help his fellow footballer.

For those unfamiliar, Valbuena was being blackmailed at the time due to the alleged existence of a sex tape. Benzema denies having ever seen the said tape, claiming that it was his childhood friend, a certain Karim Zenati, who spoke to him about the tape and confirmed its existence. Benzema then claims that he only approached Valbuena to warn him about the situation. Both players were playing for France at the time.

"At first, I just wanted Mathieu to be aware of the issue and help him because they'd done something to me in the same way," Benzema said, as quoted by Marca.

"He is someone who I played with for France and is a friend," he added after implying that he had previously been in a similar situation and wanted to help Valbuena out of the mess.

However, Benzema's claims were not enough for the French prosecutors to clear him of any involvement in the actual blackmail of his compatriot. The case against him has been drawn out for a number of years, but a court date has finally been set for Wednesday.

However, the problem is far from over as the Real Madrid forward and Ballon d'Or contender is facing a five-year prison sentence if he is found guilty. He may also be required to pay a fine of around 75,000 euros on top of the prison sentence. The fine in itself is small change for the prolific footballer, but a prison term is certainly not something that he can afford at the peak of his career.

It is unclear if Benzema will be making a personal appearance at the trial in Versailles. He is coming off the Champions League away match in Kiev and will want to return to Madrid to be able to rest and train for the upcoming El Clasico.

Real Madrid will be travelling to the Camp Nou on Sunday for the highly-anticipated match, and the last thing they need is a distracted star forward. If he is acquitted, Benzema will be coming to the match with this issue finally behind him. If things go the other way, then it will undoubtedly cast a shadow over the entire club.

Benzema's career had already been massively impacted by the case, with him being dropped by the French national team for five years. In that time, he missed out on the FIFA World Cup trophy that France won in 2018.

He has since been called back to the team, and after only a year, he has already made a massive impact on Didier Deschamps' squad. France won the UEFA Nations League earlier this month, with Benzema playing a pivotal role in the campaign.

The Frenchman has been on a massive high for both club and country this season, and is gaining ground in the race for the Ballon d'Or. It remains to be seen if this case will send all of that crashing down.

Karim Benzema
Karim Benzema scored for Real Madrid hours before he is due to go on trial in a French court AFP / Sergei SUPINSKY