Saturday December 28 2013
Benatia explains goal touch

Defender Mehdi Benatia is Roma’s joint top scorer this season and reveals he “trained as a striker when I was a kid.”

The French-Moroccan centre-back has found the net four times in Serie A this term, putting him level with Gervinho and Alessandro Florenzi.

“I had my first kick of the ball at the age of five,” he told the Corriere dello Sport.

“My father played for Evry, in the suburbs of Paris, where my contact with the football field was something natural.

“Initially I couldn’t imagine that football would become my job and to be honest I really wasn’t convinced that I could follow in my father’s footsteps.

“At the age of seven I too entered into the Evry youth academy. I trained as a striker when I was a kid and every Sunday my father placed me in front of the goal to train me and my cousins on specific exercises.

“He prepared me to be a hitman. Who would’ve thought I would go on to become a defender? I didn’t!”