Last week, Mehdi Benatia announced his retirement from the sport. The well-travelled defender was greeted his numerous former clubs.

However, throughout his storied career, he never lingered in the same place for long enough to be eternally linked with a particular club.

But perhaps Juventus could have been that team, if he wasn’t locked in a love-hate triangle that ended his time at the club on a relatively sour note.

When the Moroccan first landed in Turin back in 2016, he was already 29. However, Andrea Barzagli first signed for the Old Lady at the same age and eventually retired as a club legend.

So what exactly went wrong for Mehdi?

During his first season at the Allianz Arena, the former Bayern Munich man swallowed his pride and acted as a backup for the infamous BBC trio.

After all, we’re talking about three defenders who had been playing side-by-side for years, forming the best defensive unit in the world at the time alongside Gianluigi Buffon.

Benatia had to bind his time, collect few appearances here and there, waiting for the right opportunity to come.

And guess what, that opportunity presented itself in the strangest of manners, when Leonardo Bonucci shockingly left towards Milan in 2017.

With Leo gone and Barzagli on his last legs, the Morocco international took central stage, forming a solid partnership with Giorgio Chiellini.

By the end of the 2017/18 season, Benatia was largely praised for being one of the most consistent performers throughout the campaign for Max Allegri’s side.

But just when all seemed well for the former Udinese and Roma center back, the unimaginable took place.

Uncle Leo is back!

When a twist of fate brought Bonucci back to the Old Lady’s house, most of us expected the Italian to suffer before earning back a place in the starting lineup.

But there was none of that. The returning son was immediately welcomed by Allegri who let bygones be bygones.

Bonucci was once again directing the play from the backline alongside his new-old partner Chiellini, while Benatia was left to rue his luck on the bench. He surely wasn’t pleased with his treatment.

After all, it was him who rose to the occasion when Leo’s departure left a major gap in the Turin wall, and now, he was once again left out in favor of the forgiven son.

The Moroccan choose to walk away, and few can blame him for his decision.

Although injuries took its toll on his career and was eventually forced to retire early, one has to wonder what would have been for Benatia had he lingered at Juventus.

Before making the move to the Middle East, he was still a relatively healthy player, but perhaps training in a lower level league didn’t help in prolonging his career – we’ve seen the same scenario with Mario Mandzukic.

So this is the story of a man who could have replicated Barzagli’s mid-to-late career exploits at Juventus, a defender who formed a great partnership with Chiellini for a short while, but at the end of the day, the love-hate relationship between Allegri and Bonucci prompted his rise… before leading to his downfall.