‘I‘m in football to win titles’, says Medhi Benatia

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The 31-year-old has been impressive this year and is set to be rewarded for his effort having been nominated for the AFOTY prize

Juventus and Morocco’s defender Medhi Benatia has stated that he is in football to win titles.

The 31-year-old has been outstanding this year, helping the Old Lady to the quarter-final of the 2017-18 Champion League and winning their seventh consecutive Serie A title.

The defender has made six appearances this season and played key role as Massimiliano Allegri’s men kept three clean sheets in the encounters.

Despite winning two Serie A, Coppa Italia, Bundesliga titles and one DFB-Pokal, the former Bayern Munich player who has been nominated for the BBC Africa Footballer of the Year award is hoping to add to his numerous accolades.

"I'd like to say that I am in this job to win titles. Personally, I am lucky to prepare every day and come to the training grounds to train with only one aim: to win," Benatia told BBC Sport.

“That's what makes me very happy. I have been in football for many years and I have learnt that the most important thing is not to participate but to win.

“So for me, a defender - it's rare for a defender to be nominated. So I'm very pleased. Of course, I have a special thought for all my educators, all my trainers who made me work, who made me progress every day.”

The defender also disclosed that he is motivated to put in his best for Juventus because of the millions of his countrymen watching him.

“When I get on the field at Juventus, I know millions of Moroccans are watching me, and it makes me very proud to be an example for all the Moroccan kids,” he continued.

Morocco failed to make it beyond the group stage at the World Cup in Russia and the defender believes the Atlas Lions have learnt lessons from the tournament.

“I think our team learnt a lot during the World Cup, we were in a very difficult group with Iran, Spain and Portugal.

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“Unfortunately, we hurt ourselves a bit when we lost against Iran. We demonstrated there was a very talented generation. I said that to the players at the end. I consider myself as being part of the past because of the older age.

“I don't have many years left in football. People think that there isn't a great difference between being second or first in the standings, They are wrong, there is a great difference.”

Benatia will be hoping to lead Morocco to victory at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations having sealed their place in Cameroon.

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