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Star signing

Mehdi Benatia signs five-year contract

Mehdi Benatia has officially joined FC Bayern. At 7.45 pm on Wednesday evening the Morocco captain signed a five-year contract in Munich, keeping him at Germany’s biggest club until 2019. “I’m delighted to be here. It’s a real pleasure for me,” said the 27-year-old, who finished runner-up in the Italian top flight with AS Roma last season. “It’s a huge opportunity for me. I’m now playing for one of the biggest clubs in the world,” the defender continued. Benatia has been assigned the squad number 5.

“We’re very happy Mehdi has decided to join us. We’re totally convinced by him,” commented FCB sporting director Matthias Sammer. “He’s a robust, hard-tackling defender who’s good in the build-up. He fills all the criteria required to play for Bayern Munich.”

Benatia set out from Rome for Munich early on Wednesday after the clubs had agreed the terms of the deal. The defender completed the obligatory pre-transfer medical at Dr Hans-Wilhelm Müller-Wohlfahrt’s practice before reporting to the Säbener Strasse headquarters to ink his new contract.

Phone call with Franck Ribéry

“If a player receives an offer from Bayern Munich he basically can’t say no,” Benatia told following the signing ceremony at the club’s training and administrative centre. The Moroccan, who will strengthen Bayern’s defensive resources following the serious injury to Javi Martínez, will be unveiled on Thursday and is set for his first official training session at the Säbener Strasse after that.

The new capture will meet up again with an old companion as he played alongside Franck Ribéry for Olympique Marseille. “He was already a star but I was still very young,” revealed the Moroccan, who is fluent in French and Italian. Mehdi has spoken to Ribéry by phone. “I’m really looking forward to being on the same team as him, but there are lots of other great champions here at Bayern,” he said.