Mehdi Benatia has stated that he faced criticism from his country after he snubbed Manchester United to sign for Al Duhail.
In January, the 31-year-old moved to Qatar to join the Red Knights from Italian Serie A champions Juventus.
Prior to completing the deal, the English Premier League side offered to sign him with an opportunity to remain in Europe but rejected the offer.
And the former Bayern Munich defender has urged his critics to respect his decision sighting religious and family reasons for the move.
"I faced criticism from the Moroccan sports critics after moving to Doha but i want everyone to respect my decision because it was the best for me and for my family,” Benatia told club website.
“I want my kids to grow up in Islamic atmosphere, and I could go to clubs in the UAE or Saudi Arabia but I preferred to be with Al Duhail and there are a lot of Moroccan players who play in the national team and are with the Gulf clubs.
“Coach Herve Renard knows me well and if he sees that I do not deserve to be with the national team, I will respect this decision ".
Benatia made his debut for Al Duhail in their 1-0 loss to Al Gharafa on Thursday featuring for 46 minutes.