Defender claims religious reasons played a part in Man Utd, Arsenal snub

Oli Fisher

Defender Medhi Benatia has revealed that his religion played a big part in his decision to reject a move to the Premier League in January.

Manchester United were in need of defensive reinforcements during the previous transfer window, and despite links with Benatia among others, they failed to secure a centre-half.

Arsenal were also credited with interest in the former Bayern Munich and Roma star, but in the end he opted to move to Qatar to join Al Duhail.

“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,” Benatia told Al Duhail’s website, via Goal.

“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.”


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