Medhi Benatia: Morocco defender retires from international football

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The Al-Duhail defender has called time on his international career with the Atlas Lions at the age of 32

Morocco captain Medhi Benatia has announced his retirement from international football after 10 years with the Atlas Lions.

The centre-back represented France U17 before pledging his allegiance to the North Africans and made his debut on November 2008 in a friendly game against Zambia.

Benatia went on to make 58 appearances for the Atlas Lions, featuring in the 2012, 2010, 2013, 2017 and 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.

The former Juventus man also captained the side at the 2018 World Cup in Russia, where they were eliminated after the group stage.

Speaking to BeIN Sports, Benatia explained he has informed Morocco coach Vahid Halilhodzic of his decision to quit the national team.

“I spoke to coach Vahid Halilhodzic ten days ago and I informed him that I will retire from international duty,” Benatia said.

“I spent 11 years with the national team and I did my best with them. Playing for your country is a great honour and I am satisfied with my performance during the past 11 years.

“But 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 currently plies his trade with Qatari side Al-Duhail, having previously played for Udinese, Marseille, AS Roma, Bayern Munich, and Juventus among others.

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