MX23RW : Tuesday, February 19 17:52:42

Mehdi Benatia reveals why he turned down Manchester United

Benatia reveals why he turned down United
© Reuters
Mehdi Benatia says that cultural reasons were behind his decision to reject a move to the Premier League and join Qatari champions Al Duhail.

Mehdi Benatia has revealed that he has had to deal with criticism from his homeland after choosing a move to Al Duhail over Manchester United for family reasons.

The Morocco international is believed to have been targeted by the Red Devils, as well as fellow Premier League side Arsenal, in the January transfer market.

In a surprise move late in the window, however, Qatari champions Al Duhail announced Benatia's arrival from Juventus in a deal worth up to £9m.

Benatia, who was handed his debut in Thursday's 1-0 loss to Al Gharafa, says that he opted for the Middle East so that he can raise his family in a Muslim country.

"I faced criticism from the Moroccan sports critics after moving to Doha but I want everyone to respect my decision because it was the best for me and for my family," he told Al Duhail's official website.

"I want my kids to grow up in an Islamic atmosphere, and I could go to clubs in the UAE or Saudi Arabia but I preferred to be with Al Duhail, and there are a lot of Moroccan players who play in the national team and are with the Gulf clubs.

"[Morocco] coach Herve Renard knows me well and if he sees that I do not deserve to be with the national team, I will respect this decision."

Juventus replaced Benatia with Martin Caceres, who re-signed from Lazio last week.


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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Manchester CityMan City27212474205465
2Liverpool26205159154465
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs26200654252960
4Manchester UnitedMan Utd26156552351751
5Arsenal26155653371650
6Chelsea26155645291650
7Wolverhampton WanderersWolves2611693433139
8Watford2610793434037
9Everton2796123639-333
10West Ham UnitedWest Ham2696113239-733
11Bournemouth26103133747-1033
12Leicester CityLeicester2695123134-332
13Crystal Palace2676132734-727
14Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton2676132839-1127
15Burnley2676132947-1827
16Newcastle UnitedNewcastle2667132234-1225
17Cardiff CityCardiff2674152447-2325
18Southampton2659122844-1624
19Fulham2645172558-3317
20Huddersfield TownHuddersfield2625191448-3411

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