• NT: Benatia turns down Morocco call

    (Football Italia) Medhi Benatia has announced that he will stay with Juventus during the next international break, rather than playing for Morocco.

    The centre-back has won 42 caps for his country, but will not accept a call-up until he is playing more regularly for the Bianconeri.

    “You know the attachment I feel to my country,” Benatia wrote on his Instagram profile.

    “So it’s with great emotion that I have decided to give up the next gathering of the national team until the situation at my club evolves.

    “It’s a difficult decision for me, but one which was well thought-out. You have to look at the evidence, I’m not a starter for my club and it’s therefore difficult for me to be as competitive as I would like for the national team.

    “Despite my lack of playing time, they’ve continued to show faith in me, but now I find it unfair to accept a call-up when I’m short of playing time, taking the place of a player who is more ready.

    “Despite my status as captain, I’m not above the rules and I don’t think it would be correct, out of respect for the Coach, who needs players who are regularly involved with their clubs and players who are performing at their clubs and deserve to be called-up.

    “As you can see, right now I have to do everything to get more playing time with my club. As soon as I get a run of games, and if the national team needs me, I would of course answer the call.

    “For 10 years I’ve always given my all when representing Morocco, despite the difficulties encountered.

    “It always has been and always will be an honour to represent my country.

    “I am, and always will be, the number one supporter of Morocco.”

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