Mehdi Benatia says he has faced criticism over his decision to snub Manchester United to sign for Al Duhail, but the Moroccan defender says he did so in order to raise his family in a Muslim country. In need of a new central defender, Manchester United pegged Benatia as one of several winter targets, but ultimately fell short as the Juventusdefender turned down an offer to move to England. Instead, the 31-year-old central defender opted to move to Qatar to join Al Duhail, and made his debut for the club in a 1-0 loss to Al Gharafa on Thursday. "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 Al Duhail's website. “I want my kids to grow up in an 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. “[Morocco] 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." https://www.goal.com/en/news/benati...r-rejecting-man-utd/rp5zzyqczfcu1eucu80e7csl6 Manchester is plenty islamic. Loads of curry houses and kebab places on wimmy Road, the airport does flights to Pakistan, loads of mosques and the Trafford Centre has palm trees indoors.