Roma president accuses Benatia of lying about claims he wanted to stay

Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola (L) shares a joke with new signing Mehdi Benatia during a training session. 

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The Morocco international said on Monday that Chelsea and Manchester City also wanted to sign him but that his preference was to stay at Roma, who he claims wanted to cash in on him.

However, Pallotta has furiously hit back at those claims with a scathing criticism of the player’s behaviour and suggests Benatia was trying to secretly back out of a verbal contract agreement.

"Mehdi Benatia has obviously continued with his pattern of outright lies over the last couple of months," the Roma chief said in a statement released on the Giallorossi’s official website.

"We had a verbal agreement on compensation and a raise back in July in Boston. He personally said to me that he was happy after I told him flat out with no exceptions that we wanted him to stay.

"Over the following month he lied about wanting to stay and about the details of his compensation to both Rudi Garcia and his team-mates.

"Lying to me was one thing which I can somewhat handle. Lying to Rudi Garcia and his team-mates was completely unacceptable to me.

"I told [sporting director] Walter Sabatini he was becoming poisonous and I wanted him gone, and Rudi and Walter agreed.

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"It wasn’t about the money; it was about having character in our locker room.  We are in a very sound financial position.

"As owners of Roma, we make difficult decisions all the time.  As a fan of Roma, I am deeply disappointed that one of our players could act this way."

Benatia had only spent one season with Roma, having joined from Udinese in 2013.