Medhi Benatia has told his former Juventus co-star Blaise Matuidi that the midfielder is an “essential” part of the team.
Matuidi, 33, joined the Italian giants from Paris Saint-Germain in 2017 and has played an important role in winning two Serie A titles and a Coppa Italia.
The France international was linked with a move away from the Turin giants last summer, but he has gone on to make 31 appearances this season and signed a new contract last month which ties him to the club until 2021.
Moroccan centre-back Benatia says Matuidi, who impressed at Troyes and Saint-Etienne before going on to win four Ligue 1 crowns at PSG, has been vital for every team he has represented.
"You were a worker, an important player for the team,” Benatia said during a chat on the Bros Stories YouTube channel. “You remember what Allegri said. Sometimes he said some bullsh*t, but he said you were an essential player in all the teams you have been in, playing 30, 40, 50 games with all the coaches.
“That was simple, you just have to look at your career. You were essential. Some are a season with 15 goals and the year after they disappear. How much did you win? 25 titles? It's the consistency of staying at a high level, it depends on how hard you work.”
Benatia spent seven years in Italy, initially spending three years at Udinese and then moving to Roma. After a season in the capital, he left to join Bayern Munich but returned to Serie A with the Bianconeri.
The 33-year-old has collected all the shirts he swapped with opponents over the years, but there is one legendary former rival and team-mate missing from his selection.
“I’m missing Francesco Totti in my shirt collection,” he added. “He wrote to me for my birthday, gave me best wishes and told me that he is angry with me, because on Instagram when they asked me to show the shirts of the legends I didn't show his.
"I said to him: 'I played twice against you at Udinese, we insulted each other the whole game.'
“I sign for Roma. He sees me and says: 'Hey Moroccan, I hope you're going to be quieter than when I played against you'. We laughed and stuff. Since then, he became my guy. Now he will send me one, he still has it at home.”