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The Atlas Lions

Les Lions de l'Atlas

Latest News of The Atlas Lions

By The Atlas Lions, Feb 6 2019 02:36PM

(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.


By The Atlas Lions, Jan 29 2019 09:30AM

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.


https://www.kingfut.com/2019/01/29/morocco-benatia-al-duhail-juventus/

By The Atlas Lions, Jan 26 2019 01:09PM

(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."



By The Atlas Lions, Jan 24 2019 03:20PM

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


https://gianlucadimarzio.com/en/juventus-trying-to-convince-benatia-to-stay-amidst-offer-from-al-duhail

By The Atlas Lions, Jan 24 2019 10:05AM

Juventus are open to letting Medhi Benatia leave during the January transfer window with Arsenal and Fulham among the clubs interested in his services. The 31-year-old defender has made just five Serie A performances for Juve this season as he is behind the likes of Giorgio Chiellini, Leonardo Bonucci and Daniele Rugani in the pecking order.


Gazzetta dello Sport are reporting that the Morocco international will be allowed to leave as early as January although there is also interest in Benatia from outside of the Premier League. Clubs in China, Qatar and the UAE are also thought to be pursuing the defender’s signature this month.


Sky Sports Italia report that an offer of 10 million euros (£8.7m) has been lodged by Qatari club Al-Duhail and Juventus are considering the bid. It appears that it would be an offer in this region that would be enough to bring in the former Bayern Munich and Roma man. Benatia has made it clear that he wants more game time, saying in December: ‘I have to keep holding my head up, because a lion never dies. ‘I want to play more.’


Any move for Benatia could depend on Juventus finding cover for him, even if it is short-term until the summer. Fulham are looking to strengthen the leakiest defence in the Premier League, having conceded 51 goals in just 23 league games this season. Arsenal have also shown significant defensive frailties, letting in 32 goals so far in the Premier League this campaign, one more than who are in 17th position.



Read more: https://metro.co.uk/2019/01/24/juventus-will-let-arsenal-fulham-target-medhi-benatia-leave-january-8383806/?ito=cbshare


By The Atlas Lions, Jan 10 2019 12:52PM

Juventus won’t allow Medhi Benatia to leave the club in the January transfer window, despite interest from Arsenal and Borussia Dortmund.


The Moroccan defender has spent much of the season on the bench, despite playing well last season following Leonardo Bonucci defecton to AC Milan the summer before.


As such, Corriere Dello Sport and others report that Benatia has grown frustrated at a lack of playing time and is considering a move away.


The reports go on to suggest that Benatia’s agent Houssine Kharja met with Juve sporting director Fabio Paratici on Tuesday but was told that the Bianconeri have ‘have no intention’ of letting him go in January..


Benatia is more likely to be sold in the summer as he has one year left on his Juve contract and is being followed by the likes of Olympique Marseille, Arsenal, Borussia Dortmund and Schalke.


https://www.juvefc.com/juventus-block-benatia-exit/

By The Atlas Lions, Jan 6 2019 12:53PM

Arsenal have made an approach to sign Medhi Benatia.


That is according to reports in Italy, who claim the Gunners are keen to land the Juventus defender during the January transfer window.


The 31-year-old has fallen down the pecking order with the Serie A champions.


And with the Morocco international's future uncertain in Turin, Arsenal have enquired about his availability.


According to Gazzetta dello Sport , Unai Emery is open to bolstering his backline this month due to a spate of injuries.


Benatia could potentially be used as part of the deal to take midfielder Aaron Ramsey to Turin.


Juve are keen to land the Wales ace this month although Emery wants to keep Ramsey on board for the rest of the season.


Ramsey would be free to sign a pre-contract agreement with the Italian giants.


Juve could force the Gunners to wait for Benatia with boss Massimiliano Allegri determined to keep hold of the player, who has also attracted interest from German side Schalke.


https://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/football/transfer-news/arsenal-transfer-news-medhi-benatia-13816703

By The Atlas Lions, Dec 30 2018 01:21PM

Juventus’ Head Coach Massimiliano Allegri said that Morocco’s Atlas Lion Mehdi Benatia is a key player in the Italian giant.


By Morocco World News -


Rabat –The head coach of Italy’s Old Lady, Massimiliano Allegri, defended Moroccan footballer Mehdi Benatia after he was benched for several key games.


The coach told reporters at a press conference that Benatia is an important player and letting him go would be a “mistake.”


He also said that Benatia played six games with the football team. He added that the footballer was not always feeling well, but he remains a key player for Juventus.


Allegri also shut down rumors he was leaving Juventus, saying that he still has a year and a half left of his contract.


He also told reporters that he is happy with the Italian giant.


Earlier this week, Benatia reassured his fans that hard times will pass, saying that a “lion never dies, he sleeps.”


His message for his fans illustrates his determination to work hard to improve his skills and move his career forward.


Benatia thanked his fans for their support in this “difficult period.”


The footballer joined Juventus from Bayern Munich, initially on loan in 2016. He was later signed permanently by the club in the 2017-18 season.


Benatia is also the captain of the Moroccan national football team.

By The Atlas Lions, Dec 29 2018 03:17PM

Three Moroccan footballers’ performances with both their clubs and Morocco’s national football team have earned them the chance to win “Maghreb Player of the Year.”


By Morocco World News -


Rabat – France Football has slated three Moroccan international players for its “Maghreb Player of the Year” shortlist.


Ajax’s attacking midfielder, Hakim Ziyech; Juventus’ defender, Medhi Benatia; and Dortmund’s defender, Achraf Hakimi, have all made France Football magazine’s shortlist.


Benatia won last year’s award, ahead of Riyad Mahrez and Ziyech.


The magazine said that Benatia started well this year, profiting from defender Leonardo Bonucci’s 2017 departure from Juventus. But Bonucci’s return to Juventus in the summer cost Benatia his place among the starting 11 players.


It added that Benatia’s good year could have ended better without his penalty foul on Real Madrid’s Lucas Vazquez in the Champions League quarter finals.


According to France Football, Hakimi is a multi-talented player who plays on both left and right sides. He performed well during Real Madrid’s Champions League match against Atletico de Madrid.


Just 19, Hakimi has proved his maturity in the three matches he has played with the Morrocan national football team.


Ziyech is certainly one of the most talented players in Africa, wrote France Football. It added that he managed an outstanding performance in 2018 and was even voted best player of the 2017-2018 Netherlands Championship.


The magazine selected nine players from the Maghreb, including three players from Algeria and three others from Tunisia. The names of the remaining players have yet to be announced.

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