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Adel Taarabt: has Milan signed the new Zidane or Balotelli's tarnished copy?
The Moroccan player left his mark at his debut in Serie A. The new Rossonero has a hot-head reputation, but his potential is high. Taarabt's ex coach Harry Redknapp said: "He's a troublemaker, but he could be the new Zidane"
by Mohamed Ezzat
A 40 meters run ended with a deadly right-footed shot: Pepe Reina can't do anything. Your team is now one goal ahead against one of the strongest teams in Italy. We don't know about Adel Taarabt optimism, but it's objectively difficult to imagine a better debut in Serie A.

The game had a negative outcome for Milan, which lost 3-1 in Naples, but the impact of the newly-arrived Moroccan player has been impressive. The offensive midfielder came to Milan on loan from Fulham in the last days of the January transfer market. At the end of the season Milan could exploit an option for the definitive signing. Such a debut wouldn't have been possible without a great self-confidence, a quality that Taarabt demonstrated since his first interview for Milan channel. “I’m an attacking player, I like to dribble, pass to players, obviously score goals, try to assist. Hopefully I can bring that to the team”, Taarabt said.

But who’s Adel Taarabt? Why did a team like Milan sign a player who struggled even in a low-table Premier League side? In Italy, Taarabt is barely known: the only aspect that people seem to know about him is that he has a quick-temper. “One Balotelli is enough for us, we don't need another hot-head” some Milan tifosi thought.

The 24-years old player (with a dual citizenship: Moroccan and French) started his career with Lens in 2006, then moved to the Premier League, where he played for Tottenham on loan. But he only played 9 times before leaving for another English club – QPR – and once again on loan.

With Queens Park Rangers (in the Football League Championship), Adel Taarabt lived his golden era and, at the end of the season, the club decided to bet on him with a three years contract. He repaid the confidence scoring 34 goals in 150 caps. In the 2010-2011 season he was named Player of the Year of the English second league with 19 goals and 16 assists.

In August 2013 Taarabt got into an argument with his coach Harry Redknapp. The result? He was sent out of the team. He then joined his previous manager Martin Jol at Fulham. Finally, he returned to the Premier League. Redknapp had no regrets as he explained the Moroccan's sale this way: “My priority was to get rid of the troublemakers”.

His experience at Fulham was brief and disappointing: he played 12 times but he never left his mark. Now, his arrival at one of the greatest football clubs in the world: Milan.

His international career crossed with France and Morocco. He played for international French youth teams but he finally chose Morocco. In the African country he is known for his temper and moody decisions: he announced twice that he would have not played again for the national team. The last one was in June 2011 after he knew that he wouldn't be in the starting eleven in the game against Algeria. He left the training ground in Marrakech and headed back to Europe. The squabble ended with his official apologies and he returned in time for the game against Tanzania in October 2011.

Adel can play behind the attackers connecting the midfielders and the attackers' lines. Among his best skills there are long shots, passes and ball posession. He doesn't like to dive but at the same time he's good at earning free kicks: a skill that could help Milan to gain control of the offensive side.

Milan did not sign Zlatan Ibrahimović, but the potential of Adel Taarabt is high. Even his main detractor – Jamie Redknapp – complimented him by saying that he could become the new Zinedine Zidane. Milan fans are crossing their fingers.


Wednesday, February 12 th, 2014
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