Mathieu Valbuena revealed details of an argument with Karim Benzema on day one of the Real Madrid star's trial for his alleged involvement in a plot to blackmail his former France team-mate.
Benzema is standing trial in absentia along with four other defendants allegedly complicit in an attempt to extort money from Valbuena five years ago. The Madrid striker has continued to deny any wrongdoing in the case, and wasn't present in court for the start of the trial.
Valbuena took the stand to explain his motives in informing the authorities of his former France team-mate's alleged blackmail scheme.
"I felt in danger and my instinct was to file a complaint," he told reporters on the first day of the trial on Wednesday. "Football is my life. I knew that if this video came out it was going to be difficult for me with the French team."
"When he [Benzema] told me he wanted to talk to me, I did not think he would talk to me about that. When I had that conversation, I came out of the room, I was shocked. I felt that he insisted that I meet with a person who was to act as an intermediary. His trusted person (Karim Zenati). He was very insistent."
"It's been six years that we have had this case. I see that everyone is there, almost. Karim is missing. It's a shame, but that's how it is. We have been waiting for six years. We are there for the time it takes for all of this to be behind me."
If found guilty, Benzema faces up to five years in jail and a £63,000 fine. Earlier this year, Valbuena told RMC radio he believed the case had led to the end of his international career.
He said: “I’d have preferred to be left out of the French team for sporting reasons … it’s true this obviously affected me greatly. When you’ve always been a good player and proudly worn the French shirt, it’s always hard to accept. I accepted it and I continued … but it’s a wound that’s difficult to get over.”