Madrid - Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema received the backing of his club on Thursday, just hours after being charged in connection with a sex tape extortion case.
The 27-year-old was released by French prosecutors earlier in the day in a blackmail case involving a tape featuring fellow French international Mathieu Valbuena.
Despite training alone, Real's president leapt to the defence of the French international.
"Real Madrid president, Florentino Perez, held a meeting with the player in which he gave him his full support and expressed his confidence that his actions were in good faith and that he is completely innocent," said a statement released by the Spanish giants.
"The club values and recognises the professional commitment, the displays of camaraderie with his team-mates and the impeccable attitude he has shown as a core member of the first team squad for the more than six seasons that he has been a part of Real Madrid."
Real said that Benzema, who is still recovering from injury, had trained on his own, jogged and carried out various exercises.
A source in the French criminal investigation said Benzema had admitted approaching Valbuena about the sex tape "on behalf of a childhood friend" who himself had been contacted by blackmailers in possession of the tape, who were seeking to extort money.
But Benzema's lawyer said the player was innocent and "has admitted nothing at all".
Benzema was charged with complicity to blackmail and conspiring to commit a criminal act, the prosecutor's office in Versailles, outside Paris, said.