Deschamps hails 'improved' Benzema's maturity after Nations League triumph

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Match winners: Kylian Mbappe and Karim Benzema (AFP/FRANCK FIFE)
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Didier Deschamps heaped praise on Karim Benzema after the once-exiled forward played a key role in France's Nations League triumph.

Benzema scored France's equaliser in a 2-1 win over Spain which handed the world champions the trophy, and Deschamps was delighted with his striker.

"Karim is a crucial player and he has proved over two matches that he has very obvious talent, it's there for all to see," Deschamps told reporters.

"He has improved in different areas, he's clinical, he plays his part in the build-up."

Real Madrid forward Benzema had been banished from the national team for over five years but was recalled by Deschamps ahead of Euro 2020.

He performed impressively in the Nations League Final Four in Italy, pulling a goal back with France two down in their 3-2 win over Belgium on Thursday and levelling the scores on Sunday night with a sumptuous curling shot just after Mikel Oyarzabal had put Spain ahead.

"From a personal perspective he's no longer the same person, he's matured. He's been at the highest level for a long while now and I'm delighted he's able to celebrate tonight with France."

td/dj

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