There was a time not all that long ago when Mehdi Benatia was said to be a big-money transfer target for Manchester City.
In the end, the Premier League champions, along with a number of their domestic rivals, failed to get a deal in place and were beaten to the Morocco international’s signature by Bayern Munich.
Benatia would appear to be more than happy with the career choice he has made.
He was vocal in his desire to step up a level as interest in his services started to build at Roma, with leading clubs from across Europe closely monitoring his situation.
A switch to City would have been a logical move, with Manuel Pellegrini in the market for a new centre-half prior to splashing out on Porto’s Eliaquim Mangala.
Benatia ended up with the German title holders, though, rather than their English counterparts.
He is convinced that he made the right decision, with the 27-year-old of the opinion that City are weaker than the Serie A outfit he left over the summer.
“Roma are stronger than Manchester City,” Benatia told Il Processo del Lunedi.
“Juve and Roma will fight for the Scudetto right to the end: one because they play the best football in Italy, the other because... it’s Juventus.”
City will get the opportunity to prove Benatia wrong during the final round of group stage fixtures in the 2014/15 Champions League.
They are due to travel to the Italian capital on December 10 for a crunch continental clash which could determine which side heads for the last-16 and which sees their European dreams dashed.
Victory for City will be enough to carry them through and complete a remarkable turnaround as long as CSKA Moscow do not beat table-topping Bayern Munich in Germany.
Roma will hope that any kind of positive result will be enough to progress out of Group E, but they have started to falter – taking one point from their last three fixtures and conceding nine times during back-to-back outings against Bayern.
Home soil advantage should work in their favour against City, but Pellegrini knows his side have nothing to lose and will send them into battle all guns blazing and determined to prove a point to Benatia and all of those who continue to write them off.