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Mehdi Benatia named to list of 100 Most Powerful Arabs Under 40

Moroccan receives prestigious honor.

Alex Grimm/Getty Images

Bayern Munich's Mehdi Benatia has been named to Arabian Business Magazine's annual list of the 100 Most Powerful Arabs Under 40. Benatia is one of two Moroccans on the list, joining tech entrepreneur Nadine Hanafi. He comes in at number 55.

While his first season in Munich hasn't been the best mostly due to injuries, Benatia has performed quite well when he has been on the field. His showings are a good reminder to FC Bayern supporters of just how great he was with AS Roma.

Benatia isn't the only footballer on the list. He is joined by Al Ain's Omar Abdulrahman (#25) and Wigan's Ali Al-Habsi (#43). There weren't many athletes as a whole in the top 100.

His bio for the list:

How many footballers can you name who have turned down offers from Manchester City, Real Madrid, Barcelona and Chelsea? There's just the one — Mehdi Benatia.

Born in Courcouronnes, France, to a Moroccan father and an Algerian mother, Benatia started his career at Marseille in 2003 and signed his first professional contract with the French club in 2005. Following spells at Tours, Lorient and Udinese, he signed Roma on a five-year contract in 2013, for a deal worth close to $15m.

He made his name with goals against Sampdoria, Bologna, Catania and Chievo Verona, ending the 2013 season with a respectable five goals in 33 games.

Late last year, he made global headlines when it was revealed Roma needed cash and had signed a $30m deal to sell him to German side Bayern Munich.

"I discussed my future with Roma sporting director Walter Sabatini. He told me that the club wanted to hold on to me, but that they needed the money from a sale. That annoyed me, because I initially wanted to stay put. But let it be clear, I was happy to join Bayern Munich. I like Munich - even if it's a bit cold here," he told the Daily Mail. He also plays for the Moroccan national team.

Most of the Arabs chosen for the list were from the Gulf States with very few coming from North Africa.