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The Atlas Lions

Les Lions de l'Atlas

Latest News of The Atlas Lions

By The Atlas Lions, Jan 10 2019 01:17PM

(Morocco World News) After four decades without senior continental glory, is Morocco’s national squad finally ready to claim continental dominance at the Africa Cup of Nations?


Rabat – Moroccan football is “ambitious” and now has the squad it has been asking for for years.


The upbeat assessment came from an equally upbeat Fouzi Lekjaa, president of the Royal Moroccan Football Federation. Lekjaa was speaking to Moroccan Radio Mars just hours after winning the title of the best African football federation president.


In the radio interview, Lekjaa laid out Morocco’s ambitions as its Atlas Lions grow in confidence and beauty.


Despite early elimination at the 2018 World Cup in Russia, Morocco’s national team won plaudits for the quality of their game, especially the attacking philosophy they have been displaying under the guidance of coach Herve Renard.


Based on the team’s World Cup quality and recent displays in the CAN qualifiers, Lekjaa argued, “it would be natural if Morocco won this year’s Africa Cup of Nations (CAN).”


Despite being generally voted among Africa’s best football teams, the Atlas Lions’ history is still wanting. The country only has one continental crown to its name.


Morocco won the 10th CAN in 1976 in Ethiopia. The closest the country came to reliving that 1976 glory was in 2004, when hosts Tunisia beat Morocco 2-1 in the final. Since then, continental glory has eluded Morocco’s team, with the squad struggling to even reach the semi-final stages.


While Moroccan clubs—mainly Wydad and Raja—have been performing well at the continental level, it will take a CAN victory to usher Morocco into a position of continental prominence in football.


For Lekjaa, the current quality suggests that Renard and his renaissance boys can right decades of trophy drought. He suggested that Morocco’s “ambition to win is legitimate given the quality of their game.”


CAN 2019 will be held in Egypt from June 15 to July 13. The continental showpiece will this year count 24 teams, up from 16 in past tournaments.



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 10 2019 09:36AM

FC Goa have announced the signing of Zaid Krouch from Moroccan club Moghreb Tetouan. The 27-year-old attacking midfielder has signed a contract which will keep him with the club until the end of the season. The move is subject to him completing his medical.


The fleet-footed attacker has represented Morocco in the 2014 African Nations Championship. He has also played in the CAF Champions League and the FIFA Club World Cup.


"I’m thrilled to join FC Goa. I’m delighted to be here. I have worked with Sergio Lobera during his time in Morocco and enjoyed playing under him and in his style of football," Krouch said after the move was announced.


"I have also played alongside Hugo Boumous and known Ahmed Jahouh. I have seen the team play and I believe we have a great team which plays a brand of football which is fun to watch. More than anything, I see a real hunger in the club to win something and I hope to help the club and the supporters to win silverware in the days to come," he added.


The Gaurs are currently third in the Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2018-19 table with 20 points from 11 matches and look like one of the favourites to clinch a playoff spot.


https://www.indiansuperleague.com/press-releases/fc-goa-sign-moroccan-midfielder-zaid-krouch

By The Atlas Lions, Jan 9 2019 07:50PM

It remains uncertain whether Morocco’s Atlas Lion Younes Belhanda will leave his Turkish football team.

By Morocco World News -


Rabat – Saudi football clubs and Monaco are interested in hiring the Moroccan international footballer Younes Belhanda, according to Turkish news outlets.


Belhanda, however, told Yahoo Sports that he is not thinking of leaving his Turkish football team Galatasaray.


When asked about his situation, Belhanda said that his situation is “very simple.”


“I have two years and a half contract with Galatasaray. I was injured, I am well taken care of, and I cannot wait to get back to the competition.”


Belhanda said that his name is mentioned in several Mercato, which makes him feel happy.


“It is my pleasure that they think of me. Today it is simple: I am not negotiating with anyone,” said Belhanda.


He added that he had never “asked to leave” his club.


“ I am under contract and good here!” Belhanda concluded.


The 29-year old footballer was also linked to English premier league in 2018.


Crystal Palace reportedly proposed £5.3 million transfer fee to secure the services of the former midfielder.


Belhanda was part of Herve Renard’s selection for the 2018 World Cup, in which the Atlas Lions received worldwide plaudits.


Belhanda joined the Turkish football team from Ukraine’s Dynamo Kyiv in 2017. He is under contract with the Turkish team until 2021.

By The Atlas Lions, Jan 6 2019 06:08PM


By BBC Sport


Egyptian side Zamalek have lured Morocco international striker Khalid Boutaïb from Turkish club Yeni Malatyaspor.


The 31-year-old joins on a three-and-a-half year deal for an undisclosed fee.


He leaves a club in third place in the Turkish league after scoring four goals in 16 appearances for them this season.


"I'm happy to join Zamalek and wear the white shirt and I will do my best to make the fans and board happy," Boutaib said as he was signed.


Boutaib's performances at the World Cup in Russia, where he played twice scored against Spain in a 2-2 draw, caught the eye of the Zamalek chairman Mansour Mortada.


"We watched Boutaïb with the Morocco national team and he impressed us so we decided to sign him," Mortada told Zamalek's official website.


Zamalek are currently top of the league in Egypt eight points ahead of second-placed Pyramids with 18 matches left to play in the season.

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