Abdessalam Benjelloun

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Abdessalam Benjelloun
Abdessalam Benjelloun 2009.jpg
Benjelloun playing for Morocco in 2009
Personal information
Full name Abdessalam Benjelloun
Date of birth (1985-01-28) 28 January 1985 (age 30)
Place of birth Fes, Morocco
Height 1.85 m (6 ft 1 in)
Playing position Centre forward
Club information
Current team
FAR Rabat
Number 8
Youth career
0000–2003 Wydad de Fes
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2003–2006 Maghreb Fez
2006–2010 Hibernian 81 (11)
2008–2009 Charleroi (loan) 8 (1)
2009 Roeselare (loan) 14 (6)
2010–2011 Ismaily SC 7 (0)
2011 Raja Casablanca 0 (0)
2011–2012 Wydad de Fes 17 (6)
2012–2014 FUS Rabat 24 (9)
2014– FAR Rabat 13 (2)
National team
2004–2008 Morocco U23 6 (3)
2008– Morocco[1] 16 (4)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 13:56, 1 April 2014 (UTC).

† Appearances (Goals).

‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 13:56, 5 November 2013 (UTC)

Abdessalam Benjelloun (born 28 January 1985 in Fes) is a Moroccan footballer, who currently plays for FAR Rabat.

Benjelloun, who is also known as Benji, has represented the Morocco national football team. He started his career in his native Morocco, before moving to Scottish Premier League club Hibernian in 2006. Benjelloun had some success at Hibs, scoring twice in the 2007 Scottish League Cup Final win, but was twice loaned to Belgian clubs afterwards before being released at the end of his contract in 2010. Benjelloun then signed for Egyptian Premier League club Ismaily SC, but returned to his native Morocco in January 2011.

Club career[edit]

Hibernian[edit]

Benjelloun trained with Hibs for several weeks during the early part of 2006, while Hibs assessed whether to sign him from his hometown club Maghreb Fez. Hibs then had to undertake the complex process of obtaining the documentation needed to sign him. During this time, rumours grew on Hibs-related internet sites that Hibs had unearthed a major talent, so expectations were high when Benjelloun's signing was formally announced in March 2006.[2]

He made his debut for Hibernian in the 2006 Scottish Cup semi-final loss to local rivals Hearts on 2 April 2006.[3] Manager Tony Mowbray was forced to play Benjelloun in that game because of injury (Chris Killen), suspension (Derek Riordan), cup transfer rules (Paul Dalglish) and the sale of Garry O'Connor.

Benjelloun demonstrated his potential in the Edinburgh derby on 22 April 2006, when he came off the bench to score the winning goal. 'Benji' became an instant hero with the Hibernian supporters, although his goal celebration caused some controversy.[4] He ran wildly towards the Hearts supporters, having scored the goal at the other end of the ground. Fortunately the Hibs goalkeeper, Zibi Małkowski, managed to prevent Benji from reaching the Hearts supporters, or a major incident could have ensued.

A fellow Moroccan, Merouane Zemmama, was signed by Hibs at the start of the 2006–07 season. It was thought that this should help Benji to settle into Scottish football, and he rewarded Hibs with two goals in the 2007 Scottish League Cup Final victory against Kilmarnock.[5] Benjelloun was then expected to feature prominently during the 2007–08 season, but he suffered a season plagued by injuries, scoring only one goal in competitive matches. He was the subject of interest from Belgian clubs. Anderlecht were reported to be watching him[6] and Westerlo had an offer rejected in July 2008.[7]

After Benjelloun completed two loan spells during the 2008–09 season, new Hibernian manager John Hughes claimed that Benjelloun still had a future at the club.[8] On 20 July 2009, Egyptian Premier League club Al-Ahly claimed that they had signed Benjelloun on a three-year contract,[9][10] but the deal was cancelled days later.[11] Benjelloun eventually returned to training with Hibs in early August, and he scored the winning goal in their first game of the 2009–10 season.[12] He held down a regular place in the side playing as a second striker during the next few months,[13] but struggled for first team action after this and was released at the end of the season.[14] At the last game of the season, Benji was shown to be in tears, perhaps anticipating his release.[15]

Charleroi[edit]

Hibs agreed to loan Benji to Charleroi in August 2008 on a season long loan, with the Belgian side having the option to purchase the player outright.[16] The deal was confirmed that day on the official site of Charleroi, with Benjelloun pictured in his new side's colours.[17] Despite scoring on his debut against Roeselare, Benji failed to hold down a regular spot and made only 8 appearances during his loan spell. The Scotsman newspaper reported on 2 January 2009 that Benjelloun had "endured" a difficult spell in Belgium due to injuries.[18] Charleroi decided not to exercise their option to sign Benjelloun, which meant that he returned to Hibs.[19] Benjelloun later commented that he had experienced personal problems during his time with Charleroi.[13]

Roeselare[edit]

Sharjah-based club Al Shaab reached an agreement in principle to sign Benjelloun,[19] but could not conclude a deal with Hibs. Towards the end of the transfer window, Benjelloun signed on loan for another Belgian club, Roeselare,[20] until the end of the season. Benjelloun scored five goals in the first five of Roselare's last six matches as they retained their league status in relegation play-offs.[21] He was withdrawn injured in their penultimate match and missed their final match.

Ismaily[edit]

After his release by Hibs in May 2010, Benjelloun agreed a two-year contract with German second division club Greuther Fürth.[22] He did not complete the move, however, with the club claiming that Benjelloun had demanded too much money.[23] Soon afterwards, Benjelloun signed for Egyptian Premier League club Ismaily SC.[1] He made only seven appearances before leaving the club in January 2011.[1]

Return to Morocco[edit]

Benjelloun then had a short spell with Raja Casablanca.[1] He signed for his first club Wydad de Fes, later in 2011.[1] He then moved to FUS Rabat and was recalled to the Moroccan national team in the 2011–12 season.

International career[edit]

Benjelloun was first selected by Morocco during the 2007–08 season. He scored on his international debut, in a 4–1 win against Belgium in Brussels.[24] He was then selected for the 2010 World Cup qualifiers at the end of the season. Benjelloun scored in the first two matches, against Ethiopia[25] and Mauritania.[26]

International goals[edit]

# Date Venue Opponent Score[27] Result[27] Competition
1 26 March 2008 King Baudouin Stadium, Brussels (A)  Belgium 4–1 4–1 Friendly
2 31 May 2008 Stade Mohamed V, Casablanca (H)  Ethiopia 1–0 3–0 WCQG8
3 7 June 2008 Stade Olympique, Nouakchott (A)  Mauritania 2–0 4–1 WCQG8
4 23 June 2012 Prince Abdullah al-Faisal Stadium, Jeddah (N)  Bahrain 4–0 4–0 2012 Arab Nations Cup

Career statistics[edit]

As of 06:39, 10 May 2010 (UTC)[28]
Club Season League Cup League Cup Europe Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Hibernian 2005–06 5 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 6 1
2006–07 33 6 6 3 5 5 1 0 45 14
2007–08 15 1 2 0 1 0 0 0 18 1
Charleroi (loan) 2008–09 8 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 8 1
Roeselare (loan) 2008–09 14 6 0 0 0 0 0 0 14 6
Hibernian 2009–10 28 3 4 1 1 0 0 0 33 4
Total 103 18 13 4 7 5 1 0 124 27

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Abdessalam Benjelloun at National-Football-Teams.com
  2. ^ "Hibs Sign Abdessalam Benjelloun". Hibernian Mad. 17 March 2006. 
  3. ^ "Hibernian 0–4 Hearts". BBC Sport. 2 April 2006. 
  4. ^ "Mowbray will chastise goalscorer". BBC Sport. 22 April 2006. 
  5. ^ Harris, Nick (19 March 2007). "Kilmarnock 1 Hibernian 5: Collins proclaims cup success at last". The Independent (London). 
  6. ^ "Anderlecht is observing a Moroccan playing in Scotland" (in Dutch). sporza.be. 7 June 2008. 
  7. ^ Hardie, David (24 July 2008). "Hibs reject Westerlo bid for Benjelloun". Edinburgh Evening News. Archived from the original on 7 September 2008. Retrieved 24 July 2008. 
  8. ^ "Hughes promises adventurous Hibs". BBC Sport. 10 June 2009. 
  9. ^ "Egyptians claim to have signed Benjelloun". The Herald. 21 July 2009. 
  10. ^ Collin, Iain (21 July 2009). "Benjelloun on verge of Hibs exit as Al-Ahly claim three-year deal". The Scotsman. Retrieved 22 September 2010. 
  11. ^ "Al-Ahly will not sign Hibs' Benji". BBC Sport. 26 July 2009. 
  12. ^ "SPL Roundup". Sky Sports. 15 August 2009. 
  13. ^ a b "An answer to Benji's prayers". Scotland on Sunday. 25 October 2009. 
  14. ^ "Benjelloun among three Hibs players shown the door". BBC Sport. 14 May 2010. Archived from the original on 17 May 2010. Retrieved 14 May 2010. 
  15. ^ "Hughes trying to hammer out players' futures with Hibs chairman". The Scotsman. 10 May 2010. 
  16. ^ "Yantorno in as Hibs loan Benji". BBC Sport. 8 August 2008. 
  17. ^ "Deux renforts offensifs pour le RCSC !" (in French). Charleroi. 8 August 2008. 
  18. ^ "Benjelloun in line for UAE loan". The Scotsman. 2 January 2009. 
  19. ^ a b Hardie, David (10 January 2009). "Benji on way back to Hibs as JC decides against deal". Edinburgh Evening News. 
  20. ^ "Benjelloun moves on to Roeselare". BBC Sport. 1 February 2009. 
  21. ^ "Moroccans will miss out as Hibs return". Edinburgh Evening News. 27 June 2009. 
  22. ^ Goodman, Steve (19 May 2010). "Benjelloun makes Greuther Furth next stop after Hibs". The Scotsman. Retrieved 19 May 2010. 
  23. ^ Heidingsfelder, Kurt (30 June 2010). "Ersatz für Allagui wollte zu viel Geld". Nurnberger Nachrichten (in German). Retrieved 30 June 2010. 
  24. ^ "Morocco beat Belgium 4–1 in international friendly". International Herald Tribune. 26 March 2008. 
  25. ^ "Morocco, Rwanda win in Group 8". BBC Sport. 31 May 2008. 
  26. ^ "Morocco brush aside Mauritania". BBC Sport. 7 June 2008. 
  27. ^ a b Morocco's score is shown first
  28. ^ Abdessalam Benjelloun career statistics at Soccerbase