Fiery Benatia leads Morocco hopes at World Cup
Rabat - Fiery Juventus defender Medhi Benatia took centre stage on Thursday as Morocco coach Herve Renard named his 23-man squad for the World Cup.
Benatia, fresh from helping Juventus to the Italian league-cup double, is one of 19 players in the squad who ply their trade in Europe.
He seems set to be not too far from the headlines in Russia after a dramatic campaign in Italy which saw club coach Massimiliano Allegri telling him to "shut up" during a match.
It was also former Bayern Munich star Benatia who conceded the controversial late penalty which gave Real Madrid a place in the Champions League semi-finals at the expense of the Italians in April.
Morocco are in Group B at the World Cup finals which get underway on June 14 along with Spain, Portugal and Iran.
Morocco last played at the World Cup in 1998.
Goalkeepers: Mounir El Kajoui (CD Numancia/ESP), Yassine Bounou (Girona/ESP), Ahmad Reda Tagnaouti (IRT/MAR)
Defenders: Medhi Benatia (Juventus/ITA), Romain Saiss (Wolverhampton/ENG), Manuel Da Costa (Basaksehir/TUR), Badr Benoun (RCA/MAR), Nabil Dirar (Fenerbahce/TUR), Achraf Hakimi (Real Madrid/ESP), Hamza Mendyl (Lille/FRA)
Midfielders: M'barek Boussoufa (Al Jazira/UAE), Karim El Ahmadi (Feyenoord/ NED), Youssef Ait Bennasser (Caen/FRA), Sofyan Amrabat (Feyenoord/NED), Younes Belhanda (Galatasaray/TUR), Faycal Fajr (Getafe/ESP), Amine Harit (Schalke 04/ GER), Nordin Amrabat (Leganes/ESP)
Forwards: Khalid Boutaib (Malatyaspor/TUR), Aziz Bouhaddouz (Saint Pauli/GER), Ayoub El Kaabi (RSB/MAR), Mehdi Carcela (Standard Liege/BEL), Hakim Ziyech (Ajax Amsterdam/NED)