MILAN (Reuters) - Morocco captain Medhi Benatia has dropped himself from the team due to a lack of form and match action with his club side Juventus.
The 29-year-old said he did not deserve special treatment and would not be available for his country again until he was playing regularly in Serie A.
“I have to face the facts, I’m not in the first team at my club and that means I am not as competitive as I need to be for the national team,” the centre back said on his Facebook page.
“Despite my lack of playing time, they continued to trust me by selecting me. But I think it’s unfair to come and play for the national team when I lack competitive football and take the place of someone who is in a better position,” he added.
“Despite my status as captain, I am not above the rules.”
Benatia joined Juventus on loan from Bayern Munich at the start of the season but has been unable to break into the team featuring the so-called BBC defence — Andrea Barzagli, Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini.
He has started only nine Serie A games and made one other appearance as a substitute.
Morocco host Burkina Faso in a friendly on March 24 and Tunisia four days later, although their next World Cup qualifier is not until August when they entertain Mali.
They have two points from their first two games in African Group C after two 0-0 draws.
“It’s a difficult decision for me but one which I have reflected over deeply,” he added.
Writing by Brian Homewood; Editing by Toby Davis