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Benatia leaves Juventus in €10m Qatar deal

9:04 am AEDT 26/1/19
Medhi Benatia Juventus
The Moroccan will be replaced at Juve by Lazio's Uruguayan defender Martin Caceres

Medhi Benatia has joined Qatari club Al Duhail from Juventus in a deal worth €10 million (£9m/$11m), Goal understands.

The Moroccan defender joined Juve from Bayern Munich in 2016 and has played 41 times in Serie A, helping the team to win two Italian league titles and two Coppa Italias.

Benatia played as Morocco made their first World Cup finals appearance in 20 years in Russia last summer, starting two of the team’s three games as they were eliminated at the group stage.

His place at Juve will be taken by Martin Cacerers, who is set to join the Bianconeri from Lazio.

Benatia has agreed a deal believed to be worth €5m per season in order to join Al Duhail, who won the Qatar Stars League last season.

The club had hoped to be able to persuade the Moroccan to remain in Turin, but it is understood that it was the player’s wish to call time on his Serie A career and pursue a new challenge in the Middle East.

Both Fulham and Ligue 1 strugglers Monaco had expressed an interest in keeping Benatia in Europe.

But the 31-year-old could not be swayed by the option to engage in a relegation battle either in the principality or in west London.

Uruguay defender Cacerers will link up with his new Juve teammates in a like-for-like transfer after spending the last 12 months at Lazio, whom he joined from Verona during the 2018 January transfer window.

Juventus travel to the capital to face Cacerers’ old club on Sunday knowing that a win could extend their lead at the top of Serie A to 12 points – if second-place Napoli lose to AC Milan at the San Siro on Saturday evening.