(Africanfootball.cm) Moroccan defender Medhi Benatia says he is happy to have joined Qatar club Al Duhail and is targeting the AFC Champions League.
The 31-year-old Atlas Lions centre-back was a surprise departure from Italian giants Juventus, signing for the Doha-based club for a reported transfer fee of €8million last month.
Benatia joins compatriot Youssef El-Arabi at the ‘Red Knights’, who are six-time winners of the Qatar Stars League.
"Al Duhail was the best choice for me and my family, I want to accomplish many goals with this team,” said Benatia upon his presentation to the media.
“I have worn the shirts of important clubs like Roma, Bayern Munich, and Juventus, and I have won several trophies. But now, I have new goals: this team can win the AFC Champions League.”
Benatia also explained the motivation behind his move to Qatar:"I believe that my choice must be respected, because I thought it was the best for me and my family.
“I want my children to grow up in an Islamic environment. I could have gone to the United Arab Emirates or Saudi Arabia, but I preferred Qatar because many players of the Moroccan national team play here.”
Al Duhail are currently placed second on the Qatar Stars League log, two points behind leaders Al Sadd.
They will have their first AFC Champions League group stage match next month, when Iranian club Esteghlal visit Doha.
Morocco international Medhi Benatia has joined Qatari side Al-Duhail from Juventus in a deal worth up to 10 million euros.
The 31-year-old wanted to leave the Bianconeri after two and a half seasons with the club and departs in a deal worth €8m plus up to €2m in bonuses.
He arrived at the Serie A giants on loan from Bayern Munich in the summer of 2016, before the Italian club made the move permanent a year later.
During his time with Juventus, Benatia made 59 appearances, scoring five goals, as he helped them achieve two successive domestic doubles, as well as reaching the Champions League final in 2017.
However, he struggled for game time following the return of Leonardo Bonucci last summer from AC Milan and featured just six times this season.
The Moroccan was linked with moves to a number of European clubs, including AC Milan, Arsenal, and Marseille, but he opted to move to the Qatari champions.
This will mark Benatia’s first stint outside of Europe, after playing for the likes of Marseille, Tours FC, FC Lorient, Udinese, AS Roma, and Bayern Munich since making his professional debut in 2006.
Benatia, who was named in the CAF’s best eleven for 2018, could make his debut for Al-Duhail when they host Al Sailiya on the 5th of February.
(BBC Sport) Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri has confirmed centre-back Medhi Benatia is leaving the club, with the Serie A leaders set to re-sign Uruguay defender Martin Caceres as his replacement.
Moroccan Benatia, 31, is reported to be joining Al Duhail in Qatar in a deal worth 10m euros (£8.6m).
He joined the Italian champions on loan from Bayern Munich in 2016, before signing permanently a year later.
"It wouldn't make sense to keep a player who is reluctant," said Allegri.
"Benatia made a choice and the club evaluated and accepted his request."
Mehdi Benatia could be leaving Juventus during the January window. Qatari club Al Duhail are interested in signing the Moroccan defender and have offered the bianconeri €8 million plus €6 million in bonuses.
Juventus would like to keep Benatia for the remainder of the season, but the center back is pushing to leave after receiving a substantial offer for his wages. While the Serie A champions are trying to convince him to stay, they could accept the offer and look to replace him with a new defender who would arrive on loan