The former captain of the national football team said that he talked to the head coach about his decision ten days ago.
Rabat – Moroccan key football player Mehdi Benatia has retired from international football. The retired captain of Morocco’s Atlas Lions gave an exclusive interview to beIN Sports to announce his decision.
The former Juventus football player said that he spoke with the head coach of Morocco’s national team Vahid Halilhodzic ten days ago.
“I informed him that I will retire from international duty.”
The football player retired after almost 11 years with the Atlas Lions.
After representing the French under the 17-football team, Benatia chose to represent Morocco’s Atlas Lions. He made his debut with the Atlas Lions in November 2008.
“I spent 11 years with the national team and I did my best with them. Playing for your country is a great honor and I am satisfied with my performance during the past 11 years,” the retired captain told beIN Sports.
Benatia, however, made a statement, suggesting that the decision was prompted by internal issues in the team.
He said, “it is painful to hear someone saying Benatia is the one who picks the players of the national team and chooses the matches to play.”
Benatia, who has been considering retirement since the 2019 African Cup of Nations (CAN), admitted that the decision was not easy.
The absence of Benatia from Halilhodzic shortlist for recent friendly games has not gone unnoticed. Several news outlets, as well as Moroccan football fans, noticed the absence, questioning whether the football player is concentrating on his club commitments or whetherHalilhovic did not select him.
The football player denied rumors of de-selection by the new coach, emphasizing thatHalilhodzic wanted him to stay in the national team.
Benatia said that he wanted to retire after the CAN, especially following the elimination of Morocco.
The 32-year player was born in Courcouronnes, France to Moroccan parents. He currently plays for al-Duhail in Qatar.
Benatia’s debut as Morocco’s captain was in the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon. Goal.com reported that the Atlas Lion made 58 appearances with Morocco.
The football player has played for several international football clubs during his career, including Marseille, Bayern Munich, As Roma, Udinese Calcio.