The transfer of Medhi Benatia from Bayern Munich on a season-long loan deal sees the arrival of a truly tried and tested defensive force in European football and beyond.
Benatia: bolstering Bianconeri backline
Born in the French city of Courcoronnes, Benatia would launch his career with Tours and Lorient before moving to Clermont in the summer of 2008.
His two goals in as many campaigns for the Ligue 2 outfit set the tone for a career in which he has managed to score in every single season (a total of 15 strikes) since his arrival in Clermont-Ferrand eight years ago – no small feat for a centre-back.
In 2010, the Moroccan international captain would move from France to north-east Italy and Udinese, establishing himself as a lynchpin in the Zebrette rearguard, with seven goals to his name in 97 appearances.
Consistently impressive performances during his three years in Friuli saw Serie A heavyweight Roma come to call upon his services in the summer of 2013. Benatia’s five strikes and league-high 210 defensive clearances saw him play an integral role in helping the Capitoline club achieve their highest ever points total (85) and concede just 25 times over the entirety of the league campaign – only twice more than 2013/14 champions Juventus.
Having developed into one of the most complete defenders in the European game, Benatia opted to test his mettle in a third different country in 2014, this time joining German superpower Bayern Munich.
During his two seasons in Bavaria, the 29-year-old claimed consecutive Bundesliga titles and the German Cup, making a total of 46 appearances, netting three goals and providing the same number of assists.
Gifted with a cultured right foot, Benatia’s calm, composure and positional sense, not to mention an impressive physical presence and threat in front of goal from set-pieces, all represent characteristics set to make him a formidable member of the Bianconeri backline for the upcoming campaign.