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Feb 28, 2013

Benzema court case 'delayed for Clasico'

Real Madrid reportedly persuaded the Spanish legal authorities to postpone a speeding case against Karim Benzema so the striker would be free to play Tuesday's Copa del Rey semi-final second leg against Barcelona at the Camp Nou.

El Pais reported on Wednesday that Benzema was clocked doing 216 kph (134 mph) in his Audi RS5 4.2 FSI in a 100 kph limit zone after Madrid's 1-0 loss at Granada in early February. Audi is Madrid's official car partner.

The court date for his case was originally set for last Tuesday, the same day as Madrid's Copa del Rey semi-final second leg at Barcelona, but the club's legal team succeeded in having it postponed for a few weeks, according to a 'Madrid source', who added that Benzema "personally spoke to the magistrate to ask for the case to be put back given the importance of the game".

The France international was therefore free to be named in Jose Mourinho's squad at the Camp Nou, although he stayed on the bench for the full 90 minutes as Madrid eased to a 3-1 win and progressed to May's Copa final against Atletico Madrid.

He appeared in court on Thursday morning and reportedly asked that the case be dealt with quickly over the coming weeks.

El Pais says that police cameras caught Benzema's Audi moving at more than twice the speed limit near the ultra-exclusive La Finca residential development where he, Mourinho and a number of other Madrid players live, on the night of February 3.

The paper also claims its police sources revealed a Porsche, rented in the name of Madrid and with an unknown driver, was clocked doing 260 kph (161 mph) at the same time. According to El Pais, Madrid have refused to reveal the identity of the Porsche's driver, who is thought to be another Blancos player, although club sources have denied this. Traffic police did not try to stop either car on the night as official policy is not to give chase as this can cause danger to other motorists.

Benzema, 25, has not played for Madrid since the Champions League first leg against Manchester United game on February 13, apparently due to a knee injury which the club did not confirm officially.

If found guilty, the ex-Lyon striker could face up to six months in prison, but a long driving ban and heavy fine is more likely. He has, however, been involved in three separate motoring incidents since joining Madrid in the summer of 2009, and was fined €250 for a speeding offence in June 2011.