Former Juventus centre-half Mehdi Benatia has revealed he turned down the chance to join Manchester United because Medhi wanted his children to grow up in an ‘Islamic atmosphere’.
The 31-year-old star joined Qatari side Al-Duhail in the January transfer market in an €8 million (£7m) deal.
But before his move, Manchester United made an offer to sign the star and were willing to pay the Morocco international a salary worth €4.5 million (£4m) a year, according to reports in Italy.
Medhi received criticism in his homeland over his transfer to Qatar but the defender insists the decision regarding his transfer was due to personal reasons.
‘I faced criticism from the Moroccan sports critics after moving to Doha but I want everyone to respect my decision because it was the best for me and for my family,’ said the defender.
‘I want my kids to grow up in Islamic atmosphere, and I could go to clubs in the UAE or Saudi Arabia but I preferred to be with Al Duhail and there are a lot of Moroccan players who play in the national team and are with the Gulf clubs.’
‘Coach Herve Renard knows me well and if he sees that I do not deserve to be with the national team, I will respect this decision.’