AS Roma’s president James Pallotta harshly attacked the Moroccan talisman Mehdi Benatia and said he is “a poisonous liar,” adding that the player flatly lied when he said that he wanted to stay with Serie A club AS Roma.
Last Monday Benatia told the press that Real Madrid and Barcelona, as well as many other big clubs including Chelsea, Manchester city and others wanted to lure him, yet stressing that his preference was to stay at Rome, adding that the Italian club wanted to cash in on him.
Roma’s president reacted “harshly” to Mehdi’s statement and said the following:
“Mehdi Benatia has obviously continued with his pattern of outright lies over the last couple of months.”
“We had a verbal agreement on compensation and a raise back in July in Boston. He personally said to me that he was happy after I told him flat out with no exceptions that we wanted him to stay.
“Over the following month he lied about wanting to stay and about the details of his compensation to both Rudi Garcia and his team-mates.
“Lying to me was one thing which I can somewhat handle. Lying to Rudi Garcia and his team-mates was completely unacceptable to me.
“I told Walter Sabatini [AS Roma’s sporting director] he was becoming poisonous and I wanted him gone, and Rudi and Walter agreed.
“It wasn’t about the money; it was about having character in our locker room. We are in a very sound financial position.
“As owners of Roma, we make difficult decisions all the time. As a fan of Roma, I am deeply disappointed that one of our players could act this way.”
Following such “harsh” comments, it is highly expected that Benatia, who is well-known among the football world for his soundness and very good character, will hit back at the Roma president statement.
It is worth reminding that despite Roma’s president calling the player a liar, the fact is that the Italian club made a very good deal when selling Benatia. The fact is that the player joined the Italian club from Udinese for €13.5m in 2013, before being sold for more than the double of that price this summer. This goes hand-in-hand with Benatia’s statement, not at all with Pallotta’s one.
The Moroccan Times.