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Les Lions de l'Atlas

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Latest News of The Atlas Lions

By The Atlas Lions, May 26 2019 03:28PM

(BBC Sport) Former Morocco international Marouane Chamakh has confirmed his retirement from football at the age of 35 after not playing for almost two-and-a-half years.


The former Arsenal, West Ham, Crystal Palace, Cardiff City and Bordeaux striker had been without a club since he left Cardiff in 2016.


His last league match was against Brighton in a goalless draw in the English Championship on 3 December that same year.


"Today I can say that I really retired from football," Chamakh told beIN Sports.


Born in France, Chamakh spent eight years with Bordeaux scoring 56 goals in 230 league appearances, and won one Ligue 1 title and two French League Cups.


He moved to Arsenal in 2010 and went on to make 40 Premier League appearances in three seasons, netting eight goals.


Chamakh went on to play for West Ham, Crystal Palace and Cardiff City.


At international level, Chamakh represented France's Under-19s before switching allegiance to Morocco in 2003.


He made his debut for the Atlas Lions against Sierra Leone in Casablanca in June 2003 and went on to make 65 appearances, scoring 18 goals.


Chamakh helped Morocco finish as runners-up at the 2004 Africa Cup of Nations and featured at the next two Nations Cup finals.

By The Atlas Lions, May 17 2019 10:11PM

Arsenal and Manchester United have both been linked with the Moroccan star - but so too have Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund


Ajax sporting director Marc Overmars has confirmed that Hakim Ziyech will leave the club this summer - it's just a matter of where.


Ziyech, the left-footed Moroccan international, played a starring role in the Dutch club's run to the Champions League semi-finals.


The 26-year-old has enjoyed a remarkable campaign in Amsterdam, scoring 21 goals and registering 24 assists for Erik ten Hag's side as they completed a domestic double.


Scouts have flocked to the Johan Cruyff Arena to keep tabs on the club's star names, and Ziyech has impressed.


Manchester United , Arsenal and Liverpool have all been watching him - as have Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund, with the pair eyeing him as replacement for Arjen Robben and Christian Pulisic respectively.


Bayern have already made contact with the player's representatives.


Ziyech has been non-committal on his future thus far, saying after the club sealed the Dutch title this week "That [a move] will come by itself. When that happens, everyone will automatically hear it."


Ajax are resigned to losing the ex-Twente star for a relatively meagre £25million, due to a release clause in his contract.


But Overmars admits he will go with their blessing.


"He leaves when a top club comes," said the Ajax boss. "He is in focus because of his achievements in the Champions League.


"Many big clubs are buzzing around him. We promised Hakim [that we would] agree to a good transfer."


Ziyech was named the club's player of the year after his displays.


He is expected to be part of the Morocco squad at this summer's Africa Cup of Nations also, with the Atlas Lions having been drawn in Group D, alongside Namibia, South Africa and Ivory Coast.


https://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/football/transfer-news/ajax-confirm-hakim-ziyech-leave-16162139

By The Atlas Lions, Apr 20 2019 09:58AM

(Goal.com) The Moroccan has garnered plenty of attention from top clubs with his displays for the Eredivisie side over the past three seasons


Hakim Ziyech has suggested he may not be ready to leave Ajax after this season comes to an end, saying he is "someone who is very picky".


The 26-year-old has been reported to have had admirers in the past thanks to strong seasons in the Eredivisie with FC Twente and later Ajax.


But Ziyech has seemingly taken things to a higher level this term for Ajax during a remarkable campaign for himself individually and the club as a whole.


The Morocco international has scored 19 goals and added 20 assists in all competitions, with Ajax in first place domestically and having sensationally defeated Real Madrid and Juventus in the Champions League knockout stage to advance to the semi-final round, where they will face Tottenham.


That form has led to increased reported transfer interest from around Europe, with Arsenal and Bayern Munich just two of the many teams linked with the 26-year-old.


Though many expect him to move on at season's end, Ziyech has warned he isn't necessarily ready to leave the Johan Cruyff Arena and only will seek an exit if the right situation appeals to him.


“Anything is possible," the attacking midfielder told Inside Ajax.


“I am always someone who is very picky and there must be a club that I want to trade in for Ajax. That doesn’t just happen.”


Ziyech, who joined Ajax from Twente in 2016, has a contract with the club through the 2020-21 season.


He is one of many players who the Dutch club will face a battle to keep past the season, with the likes of Matthijs de Ligt and David Neres among those drawing eyes from Europe's top sides, while Frenkie de Jong has already agreed to a move to Barcelona.


Ajax are currently level on points with PSV atop the Eredivisie table, and will take on Groningen in league play on Saturday.


Their Champions League semi-final with Spurs begins with the first leg on April 30, before the return leg a week later.

By The Atlas Lions, Jan 24 2019 10:05AM

Juventus are open to letting Medhi Benatia leave during the January transfer window with Arsenal and Fulham among the clubs interested in his services. The 31-year-old defender has made just five Serie A performances for Juve this season as he is behind the likes of Giorgio Chiellini, Leonardo Bonucci and Daniele Rugani in the pecking order.


Gazzetta dello Sport are reporting that the Morocco international will be allowed to leave as early as January although there is also interest in Benatia from outside of the Premier League. Clubs in China, Qatar and the UAE are also thought to be pursuing the defender’s signature this month.


Sky Sports Italia report that an offer of 10 million euros (£8.7m) has been lodged by Qatari club Al-Duhail and Juventus are considering the bid. It appears that it would be an offer in this region that would be enough to bring in the former Bayern Munich and Roma man. Benatia has made it clear that he wants more game time, saying in December: ‘I have to keep holding my head up, because a lion never dies. ‘I want to play more.’


Any move for Benatia could depend on Juventus finding cover for him, even if it is short-term until the summer. Fulham are looking to strengthen the leakiest defence in the Premier League, having conceded 51 goals in just 23 league games this season. Arsenal have also shown significant defensive frailties, letting in 32 goals so far in the Premier League this campaign, one more than who are in 17th position.



Read more: https://metro.co.uk/2019/01/24/juventus-will-let-arsenal-fulham-target-medhi-benatia-leave-january-8383806/?ito=cbshare


By The Atlas Lions, Jan 10 2019 12:52PM

Juventus won’t allow Medhi Benatia to leave the club in the January transfer window, despite interest from Arsenal and Borussia Dortmund.


The Moroccan defender has spent much of the season on the bench, despite playing well last season following Leonardo Bonucci defecton to AC Milan the summer before.


As such, Corriere Dello Sport and others report that Benatia has grown frustrated at a lack of playing time and is considering a move away.


The reports go on to suggest that Benatia’s agent Houssine Kharja met with Juve sporting director Fabio Paratici on Tuesday but was told that the Bianconeri have ‘have no intention’ of letting him go in January..


Benatia is more likely to be sold in the summer as he has one year left on his Juve contract and is being followed by the likes of Olympique Marseille, Arsenal, Borussia Dortmund and Schalke.


https://www.juvefc.com/juventus-block-benatia-exit/

By The Atlas Lions, Jan 6 2019 12:53PM

Arsenal have made an approach to sign Medhi Benatia.


That is according to reports in Italy, who claim the Gunners are keen to land the Juventus defender during the January transfer window.


The 31-year-old has fallen down the pecking order with the Serie A champions.


And with the Morocco international's future uncertain in Turin, Arsenal have enquired about his availability.


According to Gazzetta dello Sport , Unai Emery is open to bolstering his backline this month due to a spate of injuries.


Benatia could potentially be used as part of the deal to take midfielder Aaron Ramsey to Turin.


Juve are keen to land the Wales ace this month although Emery wants to keep Ramsey on board for the rest of the season.


Ramsey would be free to sign a pre-contract agreement with the Italian giants.


Juve could force the Gunners to wait for Benatia with boss Massimiliano Allegri determined to keep hold of the player, who has also attracted interest from German side Schalke.


https://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/football/transfer-news/arsenal-transfer-news-medhi-benatia-13816703

By The Atlas Lions, Nov 10 2018 08:24PM

AC Milan have reportedly started to consider joining the race to sign Juventus defender Mehdi Benatia.


The 31-year-old has spent the last three years representing the Italian champions, but the centre-back has been restricted to just five appearances in Serie A and the Champions League this season.


That has allegedly resulted in interest from Manchester United and Arsenal - who could be in the market for a new defender in January - but according to Sport Mediaset, Milan are also monitoring the situation.


Gennaro Gattuso's side require a replacement for the injured Mattia Caldara, and that could see a loan bid made for Morocco international Benatia.


The report suggests that Milan would have to commit to paying a €15m (£13.1m) fee for a permanent transfer at the end of the season.


Benatia has also played for Udinese and Roma in Italy's top flight, while three years were spent contracted to Bayern Munich.



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