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Mehdi Benatia makes UEFA Team Of The Year 40-man shortlist
The captain of the Moroccan national team (ranked 82nd in the world) recently moved to Bayern Munich from Italian team AS Roma, for whom he notched 5 goals as a center back in 37 appearances. This season, he has appeared in 10 games for the Bavarians without scoring once in the young campaign.
Already in his prime at 27 years of age, Benatia has the potential to get even better as he is playing at one of the top clubs in the world. He is nominated for the shortlist alongside world class defenders such as Real Madrid’s Sergio Ramos and Daniel Carvajal, as well as Manchester City’s Vincent Kompany and Pablo Zabaleta, as well as teammates Phillip Lahm, David Alaba and Jerome Boateng. In total, Bayern have had 9 players nominated, more than any other club.
Benatia moved to Bayern Munich from AS Roma at the beginning of the 2014-2015 season to help strengthen Bayern’s shaky defense, and to help fill the void left by the injured Javi Martinez after the 26-year-old Spaniard tore the ligaments in his left knee.
Benatia was born in Courcouronnes, France to a Moroccan father and Algerian mother. He was eligible to play for all three countries but settled on the Moroccan national team in 2006 after a year of playing with the France U-18 team. Making 31 appearances for the Atlas Lions, he has scored just once since making his debut in 2008.
You can view the full shortlist here.
– By Chase Latvaaho