Tuesday May 5 2020
Benatia: 'Betrayed by Allegri'

Former Juventus defender Medhi Benatia ‘felt betrayed’ by Max Allegri and saw ‘something strange’ in the Champions League exit to Real Madrid.

The 33-year-old Morocco international is currently playing for Al Duhail in Qatar after leaving the Bianconeri in January 2019, but he is still bitter about the way things ended.

“The week after the defeat to Napoli with that Kalidou Koulibaly goal was horrible for all Juve fans, but especially for me,” he told Sky Sport Italia.

“I was having one of my best games for Juve, as with Giorgio Chiellini’s injury after 10 minutes, I kept the defence going practically by myself. I made so many important rescues to keep it at 0-0, then there was this corner in the final minutes and the referee told me he was watching in case I held anyone’s shirt.

“That’s why I tried not to touch Koulibaly, but Raul Albiol stepped in front, I didn’t see the ball and at the end lost the marking for an incredible goal. We lost 1-0, but in that moment, I felt we hadn’t just lost the game, but lost everything. I went home and didn’t sleep for three days after that. I didn’t talk to anyone in training.

“A couple of days later, we started preparing the game with Inter – which was going to be fundamental – and I saw Allegri wasn’t going to pick me. I’d been playing regularly, so I took it personally and thought he was punishing me for the Napoli goal.

“Fortunately, we won 3-2 at San Siro, so went on to win the Scudetto, but I still felt that he was singling me out. I thought, hadn’t he seen how well I’d played in the Napoli game before that? Napoli were dominating and we could’ve conceded four that day.

“I felt betrayed. I had played on even when injured and realised the team needed me. At times, I’d skip training and he’d play me anyway, so I really was hurt when Allegri dropped me.”

Before that, Benatia was at the centre of another controversial incident when he was adjudged to have brought down Lucas Vazquez in the final moments of the Champions League clash with Real Madrid in April 2018.

“That was a terrible memory, because I was suspended in the first leg with Mire Pjanic and we lost 3-0, but then we watched Roma fight back to beat Barcelona and realised we could do it too.

“Gigi Buffon was incredibly motivated. We played this amazing game and at the end Cristiano Ronaldo jumped higher than Alex. Giorgio was on the midfielder, I tried to anticipate Vazquez without touching him, he was surprised to see me there and fell over.

“I didn’t foul Vazquez, if there was any contact, it was with my thigh on the way down. If you give a penalty at the last second, it has to be for a clear-cut foul.

“This sort of thing happened many times in Madrid and the Champions League, so it’s not the first time we’ve seen something strange going on.”

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