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Benatia: Respect was the key to victory

The 7-1 victory over AS Roma was special to one Bayern player for reasons other than the result: until just a few months ago Medhi Benatia was wearing the Giallorossi shirt. The central defender made 33 Serie A appearances for Roma last term before joining FCB at the end of August. Benatia spoke to about his return to the Eternal City, the memorable match and the difference between FC Bayern and AS Roma.

Interview: Medhi Benatia Medhi, could you have imagined a better return to Rome?
Benatia: “It was special for me playing against my old friends. It was a good return for me and a great game on our part. But the most important thing was the three points. I’m very happy but, at the same time, I feel a bit sorry for my old friends. I still feel great affection for the club and the city.” Did you have a chance to meet up with your former team-mates after the game?
Benatia: “Yes. Of course, they were all very disappointed. Losing 7-1 really hurts. But they’re still in a good position in the group. I hope they qualify for the last sixteen with us.” Can you really believe what happened at the Stadio Olimpico on Tuesday night?
Benatia: “It was incredible. We started well, scored early and that makes it difficult for anybody playing against us. The key to the victory was the due respect we paid to Roma. Pep Guardiola was right before the game when he said they were a great team full of quality. We could all see that on the videos in the run-in to the match.” It wasn’t an easy return to the Stadio Olimpico for you. The Roma fans certainly gave you a warm reception.
Benatia: “To be honest I hardly heard all the whistles. I was fully focused on the game and I just wanted to do my best. I hope I showed why Bayern signed me. I have to thank the boss, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and Matthias Sammer. They all make me feel very confident.” What’s the difference between AS Roma and Bayern Munich?
Benatia: “Roma are playing for the league title and Bayern want to win the Champions League. The way they play is obviously slightly different. But I’ve changed my game and listen to what the boss says. It’s a great pleasure and honour to play alongside champions like that in a top team.” Did you celebrate your return properly?
Benatia: “No. We’ve got to focus on the next match against Gladbach. That’s a big match in the race for the title. And then there are more important games: the cup tie at Hamburg, the return match against Roma, the Dortmund game... We’ve got to keep our focus and each game as it comes. There’s a long way to go in the season.”