“Congratulations to Mehdi Benatia for a very successful international career. He will have been a fantastic captain all the time when I stayed at the helm of Morocco’s national team. A huge thank you to him. He will remain in the legend of Moroccan football,” wrote Hervé Renard, former coach of the Atlas Lions.
Recall that in an interview with BeIn Sports, Mehdi Benatia announced that he decided to put an end to his international career.
The former Lions captain explained the reasons for his decision, despite the new coach’s willingness to keep him among his squad. El Capitano seems convinced of not being able to bring more to the selection.
“After the AfCON, I wanted to think a little about my situation, especially since I had a knee injury for almost a month. That’s why I did not take part in the first meeting of coach Vahid Halilhodzic with the team,” he said.
He added: “I spoke with the coach ten days ago and told him I was going to end my international career. It was not an easy decision, but it was what I felt during the last AfCON”, stressing having been deeply affected after the elimination of Morocco against Benin. “I did not want to finish this way,” he said.
“I first listened to the coach. He told me that he was still counting on me, but I explained to him that I could not continue in this way (…),” he said.
“Despite all these sacrifices, some people come to bring accusations against you, like” Benatia chooses the composition of the team (…)”. It’s very tiring to play under this pressure for twelve years,” he said.