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James Pallotta: Mehdi Benatia was poisoning the dressing room


Roma president James Pallotta strenuously denied reports that the club sold defender Mehdi Benatia for financial reasons.

The Morocco international said he was upset after the Giallorossi decided to sell him to Bayern Munich but the club rubbished these claims.

"It's clear that Mehdi Benatia has continued to construct a castle of inventions over the past two months," Pallotta told the club's official website.

"In July in Boston, we had reached a verbal agreement to increase his salary. After having made it explicit that we wanted to hold on to him, he told me that he was delighted.

"During the following month, he lied to [coach] Rudi Garcia and to his teammates about his real desire to stay and about the figures we had discussed.

"The fact he has lied to me is something I can tolerate. To have lied to Rudi and to his teammates is absolutely unacceptable.

"I told Walter Sabatini that he was poisoning the dressing room harmony and that I wanted rid of him."

The president stressed that the club is not in a poor financial situation and money had nothing to do with the decision to sell the 27-year-old.

"Both Rudi and Walter agreed with me. It was not about money, it was a question of personality and the dressing room harmony," added Pallotta.

"Our financial situation is very solid. As owners of Roma, we are constantly being called on to make difficult decisions. As a fan of Roma, I'm profoundly disappointed that one of our players behaved in this manner."

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James Pallotta, Mehdi Benatia