Nafti in action for Birmingham in 2005
|Full name||Mehdi Ben Sadok Nafti|
|Date of birth||28 November 1978|
|Place of birth||Toulouse, France|
|Height||1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)|
|Playing position||Defensive midfielder|
|2005||→ Birmingham City (loan)||10||(0)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
Mehdi Ben Sadok Nafti (Arabic: مهدي النفطي; born 28 November 1978) is a retired Tunisian professional footballer who played as a defensive midfielder, and the current manager of Spanish club Marbella.
Born in Toulouse, France, Nafti made his professional debut with his hometown club, Toulouse FC. He was used sparingly during a three-year spell, and also played several games with the reserves. His best season was 1999–2000, as he appeared in 13 games and scored once to help the team return to Ligue 1 after one year of absence.
In the 2000 summer Nafti joined Racing de Santander in La Liga and, as in his previous club, started his stint appearing for the B-team. In the 2000–01 season he played in just three games for the main squad, which was eventually relegated, then proceeded to become a very important midfield element for the Cantabrians in the following three years, whilst collecting 35 yellow cards and three red.
Nafti was signed on loan by Birmingham City in the final minutes of the January 2005 transfer window. Often referred to as "Nasty" due to his fiery nature and tendency for cautions, he was primarily signed to replace the outgoing Robbie Savage, and finished the season strongly for the Blues, which led to a permanent deal being agreed in the summer.
Nafti's 2005–06 campaign came to end before it had even begun, with a severe injury to his cruciate ligaments in a friendly with Deportivo de La Coruña in early August 2005. He recovered sooner than expected and still appeared in the last matchday, a 1–0 loss at Bolton Wanderers, but Birmingham suffered relegation.
After having appeared in 32 games in 2006–07 to help Birmingham return to the Premier League, Nafti scored his first competitive goal for the club in August 2008, in a 4–0 win against Wycombe Wanderers in the 2008–09 League Cup. In June 2009, after Birmingham chose not to renew his contract, he signed a two-year contract with Aris Thessaloniki in Greece.
On 12 September 2009, Nafti scored the only goal of the home match against PAS Giannina to put Aris top of the Superleague Greece after three matches, and finished his debut season with four goals in 22 league games, with the team ranking fifth.
During the January 2011 transfer window, the 32-year-old Nafti left Aris and returned to Spain, signing an 18-month contract with Segunda División club Real Valladolid. He spent the 2012–13 season with Real Murcia, helping them avoid relegation from the second tier, and had considered retiring from the game before dropping down a division to sign for Cádiz. He established himself in the team, but was troubled by injury, and after Cádiz signed midfielder Jon Ander Garrido in the January 2014 transfer window, Nafti's contract was cancelled.
A Tunisian international since 2002, Nafti represented the nation in three Africa Cup of Nations tournaments, helping it win the 2004 edition, played on home soil. He then appeared in the 2005 FIFA Confederations Cup, playing against Australia (2–0 win) and Germany (0–3 loss).
- As of match played 5 March 2017
|Marbella||10 June 2016||Present||28||14||7||7||39||33||+6||50.00|
- "Birmingham recruit Nafti on loan". BBC Sport. 31 January 2005. Retrieved 31 March 2011.
- Clarkson, Ian (20 February 2005). "Football: I'm called nasty for a reason". Sunday Mercury. Birmingham. Retrieved 18 February 2013.
- "Birmingham complete Nafti signing". BBC Sport. 30 June 2005. Retrieved 31 March 2011.
- "Nafti set to miss entire season". BBC Sport. 10 August 2005. Retrieved 31 March 2011.
- "Nafti continues comeback trail". BBC Sport. 11 April 2006. Retrieved 31 March 2011.
- "Bolton 1–0 Birmingham". BBC Sport. 7 May 2006. Retrieved 31 March 2011.
- "Wycombe 0–4 Birmingham". BBC Sport. 13 August 2008. Retrieved 30 November 2009.
- "Squad rebuilding begins". Birmingham City F.C. 8 May 2009. Archived from the original on 11 May 2009.
- "Mehdi Nafti signed Aris FC". Aris FC. 10 June 2009. Archived from the original on 17 June 2009.
- "Win 1–0 over PAS Ioannina". Aris FC. 12 September 2009. Archived from the original on 19 July 2011.
- "Aris: Mehdi Nafti Superleague 2009–2010". Superleague Greece. Retrieved 27 January 2015.
- "El Real Valladolid ficha al medio centro Nafti" [Real Valladolid signs central midfielder Nafti] (in Spanish). Real Valladolid. 31 January 2011. Retrieved 11 March 2011.
- Quiñones Miralles, Javi (20 November 2013). "Mehdi Nafti, "El Padrino" del Cádiz" [Mehdi Nafti, "The Godfather" of Cádiz]. Vavel (in Spanish). Retrieved 13 January 2015.
- Ruiz, Alfonso & Léon, C. (15 December 2013). "El Cádiz, a ganar para no perder de vista la cabeza" [Cádiz, to win so they don't lose sight of the top] (PDF). Mundo Deportivo (in Spanish). p. 34. Retrieved 13 January 2015.
- Grima, José (28 January 2014). "Sergio Aragoneses, nuevo portero del Cádiz CF" [Sergio Aragoneses, new Cádiz goalkeeper]. Marca (in Spanish). Retrieved 13 January 2015.
- "Mehdi Nafti, el Zidane del Marbella FC para la próxima temporada" [Mehdi Nafti, Marbella FC's Zidane for next season] (in Spanish). Marbella 24 Horas. 10 June 2016. Retrieved 21 September 2016.
- Mehdi Nafti – FIFA competition record
- "Nafti: Mehdi Ben Sadok Nafti Matches 2016–17". BDFutbol. Retrieved 28 October 2016.