TuttoJuve.com’s Mirko Di Natale spoke with former Juventus defender Medhi Benatia to discuss the current developments at the club and beyond:
How is life without football? Can you tell us how you are living these months?
“It’s a unique experience to live a life without football. Now I don’t need to set an alarm because I don’t have any more training or matches to prepare for. My priorities have shifted, and I am no longer bound by any commitments. I love that I now have time to do things I couldn’t do previously. I didn’t stay stagnant; instead, I began to focus more on real estate projects and the academy I established in my name for children who want to learn to play this sport “.
You’re equally busy; we just learned about your NFT (Non-fungible Token) digital project a few days ago. Could you provide us with any other information?
“It’s something I’ve been working o for months, and it’ll be the world of tomorrow. It is, without a doubt, the project of 2022. I’ve put a lot of time and effort into this project, and we’ll be announcing some exciting news shortly, but I can’t say much more at this time.”.
Would you desire to stay in the football business and possibly work as a manager, agent, or manager?
“Obviously, I intend to remain in the football scene. I don’t see myself as being removed from this world; I have dedicated my entire life to this activity. In the last few months, I’ve visited some European clubs, including Juventus, and made a lot of new acquaintances. My ambition is to become a prosecutor because I am passionate about assisting ambitious and well-intentioned young people in reaching their full potential “.
What was the finest and worst experience you’ve had in your career?
“It’s tough to tell which encounter was the most lovely because I’ve had so many. In France, I vividly recall the moment following the Crusader’s disbandment, when I relaunched myself in Italy for the dream I had experienced. In Udinese, the Pozzo family treated me like a son and allowed me to develop into a true player; in Rome, I was greeted warmly by the fans from the start, and I can only thank Sabatini, Massara, and everyone else who helped me. It’s no small feat to be named the league’s finest defender.”
Indeed no, you were actually considered one of the strongest in Europe in your role at the time.
“In every club where I’ve played, I’ve always given it my all. Then came Bayern Munich, which presented a more challenging challenge due to injuries and my lack of adaptation in Germany. The club, on the other hand, always has me. Very well looked after. The worst experience was at Lorient, when I was extremely young and didn’t play very much. As I previously stated, I then broke my crusader. That season is not one I recall well.”
When it comes to Juve, I’ll get right to the point: did you predict Paulo’s non-renewal?
“No, honestly no. Paulo, for me, is Juve, in recent years he has always been at the centre of the project as number 10, goalscorer and captain in the absence of Giorgio. He has always been in love with Juventus, unfortunately, he had ups and downs with the club and this was the final decision. I am so sorry because I would have liked to see Dyba again here in Turin. ”
What will happen to your friend Paulo? Will he stay in Italy or go to a different league to gain experience?
“Paulo is exclusively seen at Juve in Italy, and not at other clubs. He is now a great player and will be able to play in Spain, France, and Germany, this is undeniable. He will fit in well with any squad, and I wish him well in his selection. He is a great friend, and I adore him “.
In the upcoming market, Juve will undoubtedly modify their skin. Dybala’s replacement, as well as the acquisition of a powerful midfielder, will be top priorities. Salah, Zaniolo, and other players are approached by newspapers. What are your thoughts on the subject?
“He’ll undoubtedly need to be a fantastic player. Salah replacing Dybala would be a fantastic idea, but I find it quite challenging. He is currently one of the best in the world at his position, and I’m not sure if today’s Juve can bring him back. Zaniolo had a string of bad luck with injuries, but I quickly warmed up to him. I like him because he has good leg strength and is technically proficient. He reminds me a little of Kaka, and I believe he has the potential to become a phenomenon. He has a lot of potential. What exactly is this? “.
So do you think Zaniolo will go to Juventus?
“I prefer to stay with Roma, so as to become a decisive player for those colours.”
And on the midfield front?
“Paul Pogba’s name has been mentioned again, according to reports. His outstanding qualities are well-known around the world, therefore there is no need to introduce him. So everyone knows he’s madly in love with Juve. If he should, that is. Returning to the black and white jersey in the middle of the field would be a huge improvement “.
We talk about defenders a lot, and much like in the other departments, a lot of names have been mixed up with the bianconeri. Who would you suggest? In defence, which defender would you like to see?
“Rüdiger would be the perfect partner for de Ligt in Juve’s defence for the next five years. I can give you some background on him: while I was injured at Bayern, I went to the stadium to watch my teammates play Stuttgart. I recall informing Roma match analyst and Sabatini’s trusted man, Simone Beccaccioli, that there was a powerful defender to keep an eye on. I’m not sure if it was my merit, but I’ll never know. Rüdiger, on the other hand, excelled in the Giallorossi and has continued to develop at Chelsea; he can play with both feet and is a very serious and respected individual. I’d be delighted if he arrived in Turin.”
Juve needs young and strong defenders, Chiellini and Bonucci are no longer eternal.
“We’re sorry to see players like Chiellini and Bonucci go, but it’s natural that as you get older, you can’t play as much. They’ve written Juve’s history. When Giorgio is on the pitch, he completely transforms the team’s image. He is the Juventus man, and I am looking forward to seeing him as a manager. Because of his human value and football knowledge, he would be ideal for that role.”
The elimination from the Champions League was a great shock, but there are two months to finish the season in the best possible way. What is your general opinion on the team?
“Juve were doing a terrific job until they were eliminated by Villarreal. I felt bad for the players, but I know Allegri and have no concerns about how he will get the club back on track. This has already been demonstrated with Salernitana. The goal is to qualify for the next Champions League, but I’d be happy with a trophy like the Italian Cup, which is the bare minimum for a side like Juventus.”