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.body check tags ::