FOR THOSE WHO LOVE FOOTBALL
Rumour has been insisting for months, but in the end Mehdi Benatia has decided once again to stick with Udinese to achieve major goals. No regrets, only will to start. The Champions League play-off being close, Udinese defender has taken stock of the situation on his new contract and cleared all doubts.
Have you signed for the renewal?
"I have renewed my contract until 2017. It's the right thing to let everybody understand I have never wanted to leave. I met the coach and the Club, I'm fine in Udine and I'm glad to stay here".
Was the rumour true?
"I'm 25 and after two years with Udinese I wanted to know what the Club intended to do. The coach has let me know that I'm important. I talked to the President who said it's better if I do another season here and then evaluate. I've always worked for the group as everyone else, and I'm not pleased of what I've read in the past few months".
Champions play-off are round the corner, which team would you rather avoid?
"We are so willing to pass this year. Play-offs aren't important, it's fundamental to play the real Champions League, and we deserve to do so. The draw is more favourable than last year, there are no top clubs, but they are all very strong so I don't have a preference. We have to think of ourselves".
There are a lot of new signings, how are they doing?
"I hope they can all understand the language and our way of playing as soon as possible. The strength of the coach, last year, was to have everybody understand that the closer we feel, the better we play. Older players help younger ones. We have to play a real match in 15 days. Some of them will be away on national duty, but we're used to that".
Could you leave Udine in one year's time?
"I had the chance to leave also after the first season, but I stayed. I have a contract with Udinese, everything depends on them. If a good offer comes to the Club, we'll evaluate it, but I'm fine here, my son was born here".
Is it hard to achieve last year's results in the defence?
"Last year's outcome did not come only from the defence. Samir is a phenomenon, Pinzi helps us a lot and few can see his actual work. It's hard to change so much, but quality players have arrived. There is also Coda, who is doing fine now".
What do you think of Willians?
"He is impressively strong and retrieves all balls. The coach knows what to do with him".
"A really good one. I think he's going to be important for Udinese. He speaks a bit of Italian already and he will be ready soon".
Happy for the large amount of season tickets sold?
"In such a small town as Udine we need to feel supporters stand by our side. I want to thank all of them for the support they've given throughout the past two seasons. We play for them too".
Do Udinese always start from Di Natale?
"Totò will be important for the team, he knows how to score and it's normal to start from him. He can't do everything by himself, but he is talented. Plus, he's an extraordinary team-mate, he can do better than last year. He can score 30 goals".
Do you believe in winning the Coppa Italia?
"We need to try and win everything we can, but the most important thing for us is the championship, we should be humble enough to try and win 40 points first. We must do a good championship. I don't know how it is going to be, but we want to succeed both in the championship and in the Champions League".