Al Duhail new signing Mehdi Benatia reveals Juventus wish in touching farewell

The Morocco centre-back is set to continue his career in the Qatari Stars League after the Bianconeri reached an agreement with Rui Faria's side

Mehdi Benatia has bid Juventus a touching farewell, revealing his initial plan to see out his career with the Old Lady.

On the back of a successful two-and-a-half year stint at the Allianz Stadium, the 31-year-old completed a €10 million (£9m/$11m) move to Qatari outfit Al Duhail.

His decision to leave Italy for the second time was as a result of limited playing time this season.

Benatia was only involved seven times this season, including five Serie A outings as Leonardo Bonucci's return to Juve from AC Milan last summer reduced his game time.

Coach Massimiliano Allegri regularly opts for a centre-back pairing of Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini.

Last month, the former Bayern Munich revealed that he was going through 'difficult times’ at the club; but such has now been halted with his move to Qatar - although one he never foresaw.

"Hello everyone. After two very challenging days, I wanted to take the time to say goodbye to this great family, Juventus players, fans, the staff, storekeepers and the whole Juve family that I will miss for sure. I leave a lot of friends that I hope I will see again soon," Benatia wrote on Instagram.

"You have been living in the centre of my life for two and a half years and we have had a lot of satisfaction and in July I was sure I would have finished my career with you, but unfortunately life has some surprises and I had to change my plans but always with the desire to win with determination and trying to make a choice even at the family level.

"Thank you. I understand that some do not want to accept my choice but I only ask you to respect it. Forza Juve and try to win everything, with this splendid group everything is possible," he concluded.

After initially impressing on loan from Bayern Munich, Benatia secured a permanent move to Turin in June 2017 and was a core member of their defensive set-up.

His contribution was immense, heightened by the brace he scored in last season's 4-1 victory over AC Milan in the Coppa Italia final.

The ex-AS Roma defender scored three goals in 40 Serie A appearances, two goals in six cup outings and played 14 games for the Old Lady in the Uefa Champions League.

He won two Serie A, two Coppa Italia and one SuperCoppa Italia titles.