Rabat – Moroccan footballer Medhi Benatia has decided to take a hiatus from Morocco’s national soccer team in order to devote himself to his club Juventus, he announced on his official website on Wednesday.
Benatia, who was the captain of the national football team during the 2017 African Cup of Nations (CAN2017) in Gabon, said, “You know the attachment I feel to my country. Therefore, 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.”
“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 for players, who are performing at their clubs and deserve to be called-up.”
Benatia, who will not participate with Morocco against Tunisia and Burkina Faso in friendly matches later this month, stresed that this decision is difficult for him.
“I am 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,” he said.“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.”
Benatia reiterated that he needs to dedicate much of his time to Juventus, noting that he is ready to play for Morocco whenever he is called.
“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,” he said.
Benatia went on to add that although there difficulties, he have always represented Morocco for ten years. “It always has been and always will be an honor to represent Morocco,” he concluded.