Taarabt playing for Morocco in 2009
|Full name||Adel Taarabt|
|Date of birth||24 May 1989|
|Place of birth||Fez, Morocco|
|Height||5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)|
|Playing position||Attacking midfielder, Left winger|
|2007||→ Tottenham Hotspur (loan)||2||(0)|
|2009||→ Queens Park Rangers (loan)||7||(1)|
|2009–2010||→ Queens Park Rangers (loan)||41||(7)|
|2010–2015||Queens Park Rangers||109||(26)|
|2013–2014||→ Fulham (loan)||12||(0)|
|2014||→ Milan (loan)||14||(4)|
|2017–2018||→ Genoa (loan)||28||(2)|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 16 March 2019|
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 6 February 2017
Adel Taarabt (Arabic: عادل تاعرابت / Tamaziǧt: Adil Tǎrabt– born 24 May 1989) is a Moroccan professional footballer who plays as an attacking midfielder or as a winger for Portuguese side Benfica B and the Morocco national team.
Taarabt began his playing career in France at Lens before moving to English Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur in 2007. Taarabt then moved to Queens Park Rangers on loan in July 2009. He was signed permanently in August 2010 and quickly established himself at Loftus Road. QPR were relegated in 2013 and in the ensuing summer, Taarabt moved to Fulham on loan. After another loan to Milan in Italy, Taarabt eventually signed a long-term deal with Portuguese club Benfica in 2015, who loaned him out to Italian side Genoa two years later.
Taarabt made his Morocco debut in February 2009, and scored his first international goal the following month. He represented the country at the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations.
- 1 Club career
- 2 International career
- 3 Personal life
- 4 Club statistics
- 5 Honours
- 6 References
- 7 External links
Taarabt was born in Fez, Morocco. At a young age, his family moved to a small town called Berre-l'Étang, Bouches-du-Rhône, France. He began his career at Lens in 2004, and played 14 matches for RC Lens B in the Championnat de France amateur. He made one first team appearance for Lens during the 2006–07 season.
Taarabt signed for Tottenham Hotspur on a long-term loan on 2 January 2007 after the club offered to integrate him quickly into the first team to offer him maximum playing time. Within two months, he made his first senior appearance in a Spurs shirt, entering as an 87th-minute substitute for Pascal Chimbonda against local rivals West Ham United in a 4–3 away victory on 4 March. On 7 April, he made the only other appearance of his loan, in a 1–0 defeat at another local rival, Chelsea; he replaced Teemu Tainio after 64 minutes.
Tottenham signed Taarabt permanently on 8 June. He scored his first goal for Spurs in a pre-season friendly against Stevenage Borough on 7 July. He made his first of six appearances in the 2007–08 season against Derby County in the 4–0 win on 18 August, entering the 71st minute for Wayne Routledge.
At the beginning of the 2008–09 season, Taarabt was among a group of players not given a squad number by then manager Juande Ramos, and also banned from the first-team training ground. He was given his old number when Harry Redknapp took over team management, but his only Premier League appearance that season came in a goalless North London derby on 8 February 2009, playing three minutes in place of Aaron Lennon.
Queens Park Rangers
On 13 March 2009, Taarabt joined Championship club Queens Park Rangers on loan until the end of the 2008–09 season. He scored his first goal for QPR in a 2–1 win over Bristol City. His loan spell was cut short after he suffered a knee injury which required surgery.
On 23 July 2009, Taarabt rejoined QPR on a season-long loan for the 2009–10 season. On 1 October, Taarabt scored a "wonder strike" in a match against Preston North End. He collected the ball on his chest inside the QPR half, dribbled 20 yards past three players and curled in a shot from 25 yards. This led Jim Magilton to label Taarabt as a "genius" and the goal is seen as one of the Championship's finest.
Tottenham confirmed in October 2009 that Taarabt could stay at QPR for the season providing that a Premier League club did not make a bid for him in the January transfer window. QPR were unable to make the transfer permanent because they could not afford the £4.5 million valuation placed on Taarabt by Spurs.
In March 2010, Taarabt was quoted in an interview as being sorry he had signed for Tottenham, saying, "The big mistake was to sign for Tottenham and not go to another club when I first came over." He stated he wished he had signed for Arsenal instead but had opted for Spurs after Damien Comolli moved from being a scout at Arsenal to director of football at Spurs. He said he felt he would have been given more chances to play at Arsenal and was advised at the time not to sign for Spurs by his friends Armand Traoré and Abou Diaby, who played for Arsenal. Taarabt went on to state his intention to sign for one of the top clubs in Spain: "I hope to be playing for one of the top four in Spain next season – Real Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia or Sevilla. I have contact with good teams and I know that they want me. Now I just have to hope they can agree a deal with Tottenham."
On 5 August 2010, QPR signed Taarabt to a permanent deal for an undisclosed fee. The Moroccan agreed a three-year deal with the central London club.
In January 2011, Taarabt was interviewed by the Evening Standard in which he said, "The man who took me to Tottenham was Damien Comolli. He was at Arsenal then. But, when I was going to go to Arsenal, he moved to Tottenham. He told me: 'Come to Tottenham. We want to do like they do at Arsenal and take the best young players in the world. You're going to have a better chance there.' I believed him. This was a mistake and I regret it. Tottenham tried to do it like Arsenal but it's a different culture. I would have had a better chance at Arsenal. I would progress with Arsène Wenger. He is a legend in France, one of the best managers in the world."
Taarabt was to make his debut as a full QPR player, as the club signed the Moroccan for a reported £1 million. The contract stipulated that Tottenham would receive 40% of any future transfer profit, in addition to the payments already made. His move was proved to be one of the bargains of the season as Taarabt scored 19 goals in 44 league appearances that season for the West London club. With his unpredictable skill and reputation for never giving the opposition defence an easy 90 minutes, Taarabt went on to win the Championship Player of the Year award and gained a place in the Championship's best XI, which also featured teammate Paddy Kenny.
In March 2011, Taarabt missed two matches when he returned to France for family matters as one of his cousins had tragically been killed by Algerians. In the international Morocco–Algeria match, Taarabt picked up a booking and was lucky not to be sent off. In the return fixture Morocco manager Erik Gerets opted to drop Taarabt to the substitutes' bench. Taarabt decided to not turn up to the international fixture and vowed to never play for his country again. However, several months later, Taarabt wanted to play for Morocco again, which Gerets reluctantly allowed, but said that if Taarabt acted irrationally again, he would not play for his country while he was in charge.
Some notable moments during the season were against Cardiff City (an away 2–2 draw), where Taarabt picked up a brace, scoring a wonder goal in the process. During the home match against the same opposition, Taarabt scored the winner which took QPR back to the top of the Championship.
The 2011–12 season marked Taarabt's first real foray into the Premier League, for although having been featured in English football's highest tier as a Tottenham player, he had never made a breakthrough into the Spurs' starting XI. The start of the season held much optimism for both QPR and Taarabt, yet this soon gave way to speculation that he would move away, and his name was associated with the likes of Paris Saint-Germain and Napoli. This was coupled with the arrival of Joey Barton in the August transfer window, who was immediately installed as captain at the expense of Taarabt.
These factors had the unfortunate effect of unsettling Taarabt and he was unable to recreate his form from the previous season. By early November, he had taken over 20 shots yet scored zero goals. Prior to this, he had often let his temper get the better of him. During the 6–0 loss away to Fulham on 2 October, he was substituted at half-time, which apparently led to an argument with manager Neil Warnock. This attitude provoked criticism from his teammates, with Joey Barton being particularly vocal. Taraabt was again substituted at half-time for a poor showing in the 3–1 defeat at Tottenham and was subsequently omitted from the side for the matches against Manchester City and Stoke City. During this period, continued speculation linked him with PSG, and Warnock even admitted he would gladly accept an offer for Taraabt if the right one came along.
Taraabt went on international duty and also had some minor injuries which also saw him left out of the side at this stage. Warnock was highly critical of the player's agents during this period and laid much of the blame for him being unsettled at their feet. He advised him to rethink the advice they had given him and said, "They won't make him better and I think it is a shame. Adel can always make money but he is better than that. I will be sad if he ends up going to make some money because I think he has great ability." Still left out of the side throughout most of November, subsequent injuries to his teammates saw a recall, however, and he was commended for his performance in the 2–0 loss to Manchester United on 18 December. He sustained this level of improved performance against Sunderland and Swansea City. On 31 March, Taarabt scored the first goal in QPR's victory over Arsenal, and was also voted Man of the Match. Taarabt followed up his goal against Arsenal by scoring a long-range free-kick, the winning goal in a victory over his former club Tottenham on 21 April. He was also shown his first red card in English football in the same match for a second bookable offence.
On 11 July 2012, Taarabt signed a new three-year contract with QPR, keeping him at the club until June 2016. On 1 October 2012, he scored his first goal of the season against West Ham United with a dipping long-range shot after dribbling past two players. He scored his second goal in three matches with an emphatic volley away against West Bromwich Albion on 6 October. On 15 December, he scored both goals in QPR's first victory of the 2012–13 season, a 2–1 win over West London rivals Fulham, the second with a mazy dribble ending with a finish on the outside of his foot. Manager Harry Redknapp praised Taarabt by stating, "It was one of the all-time great performances, I felt." On 2 January 2013, in QPR's second win of the season, a 1–0 away victory over rivals Chelsea, Taarabt was played in an unfamiliar striker position, gaining the Man of the Match award and assisting the only goal, described as "Pelé-esque".
Taarabt joined Premier League side Fulham on a season-long loan on 7 August 2013. He made his Fulham debut in an away match against Sunderland, where he played the full 90 minutes. He scored his first goal for the club against Burton Albion in the League Cup on 27 August 2013.
On 30 January 2014, Taarabt signed for Milan until the end of the season, demonstrating the Rossoneri's renewed ambition on the transfer market. He scored his first goal for Milan eight minutes into his debut, against Napoli, having tackled the ball in his own half and dribbling halfway across the pitch to score from outside the box in a 3–1 loss. On 19 February, he made his debut in the UEFA Champions League, in the first leg of the round of 16 in a 0–1 loss at the San Siro against Atlético Madrid.
Return to Queens Park Rangers
In the 2014 summer season, Taarabt returned from his loan spells back to QPR, but after starting in the League Cup match against Burton Albion on 27 August, only came on as a substitute in the away match against West Ham. Responding to a journalist's question, QPR manager Harry Redknapp stated after his team's home defeat against Liverpool, "Taarabt is not injured. He's not fit. He's not fit to play football unfortunately. He played in a reserve game the other day and I could have run about more than he did. I can't pick him." Taarabt responded that Redknapp was "making excuses because QPR are losing games", adding, "[M]aybe he expects me to make more tackles. I am not this type of player."
Taarabt represented France at under-16, under-17 and under-18 levels, but opted to play for Morocco at senior level, saying, "I felt the time was right when I was given this opportunity". On 11 February 2009, he played his first international match with Morocco in a friendly against Czech Republic in Casablanca. He also made an appearance on 29 March during Morocco's 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifier 2–1 defeat against Gabon.
Taarabt scored his first international goal on his first start on 31 March 2009 in a friendly 2–0 victory over Angola. On 6 September 2009, he scored his first goal in a competitive international match against Togo in the 2010 World Cup qualification after he broke through the opposing defence in stoppage time.
On 3 June 2011, Taarabt decided to end his international career the day after being dropped to the bench for an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Algeria. He reneged on that decision, returning on 9 October 2011 for their last qualifier against Tanzania. Taarabt scored a free-kick that would end up being the winning goal and sealing Morocco's qualification. He made two substitute appearances in a group stage exit.
Taarabt is a Muslim and stated in an interview in June 2010 that this religion has had a significant impact on his life as a footballer:
"Being a Muslim has had a big impact on my professional life. As Muslims, we don't drink alcohol, we don't smoke, so essentially we've become healthier, more professional footballers because of our lifestyle. Before every game, I perform salat. Without it, I just don't feel confident. I make sure I pray after a match, too – to give thanks and be grateful for the stamina and strength God graced me with."
- As of match played 16 March 2019
|Queens Park Rangers (loan)||2008–09||7||1||0||0||—||7||1|
|Queens Park Rangers||2010–11||44||19||0||0||—||44||19|
Queens Park Rangers
- PFA Team of the Year: 2010–11 Championship
- Football League Championship Player of the Month: August 2010
- Football League Player of the Year: 2010–11
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- Counts for appearances and goals at the UEFA Champions League, UEFA Cup, UEFA Supercup and UEFA Intertoto Cup. Including qualifying games.
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