Adel Taarabt has been called many things due to his incredible pace and skill on the ball.
His ex-manager at Fulham, Martin Jol described him as “a wizard”, and among the fans, he was known as that Moroccan who excited everyone with his trickery and rightfully so.
To give a pictorial view of who Taarabt is; just imagine the skill of Zinedine Zidane, mixed with the thrust of Ronaldinho and the technique of Thiery Henry.
He possessed the ability to embarrass his opponent with a nutmeg or a stepover and genuinely looked like the finished article at times.
But it was his inconsistency and attitude that held him back, especially during his time in England.
That being said, when he was playing well, Taarabt was, without doubt, one of the most exciting players in world football. I mean, just look back at his time with Queens Park Rangers.
In 2010-11, Adel Taarabt scored 19 goals and got 16 assists.
The streets will never forget. pic.twitter.com/NM7OQbNzPc
— alpinistegone (@alpinistegone) April 9, 2020
Nowadays, the mystical untouchable dribbler does not play as wide as he used to when he starred for Queens Park Rangers.
He now snarls around the defensive midfield role and has been integral to the success of Benfica last season where they finished second, five points behind rivals FC Porto.
Contributing massively to the defensive and attacking phases for the Portuguese side, the previously often frustrating Taarabt is now producing dominant performances from deep, with his Man of the Match performance against Belenenses a testament to his new role.
🎥 Adel Taarabt vs. Belenenses:
From nutmegs and flicks to a composed defensive midfielder. Taarabt’s transformation has been astonishing, especially considering his tough time in Portugal. Against Belenenses he was all over the pitch. Man of the Match. pic.twitter.com/wZ1ar7GdlX
— Maghrib Foot (@MaghribFoot) February 2, 2020
It’s hard to believe but Taarabt is genuinely a superb deep-lying midfielder, and he’s a joy to watch.
It is obvious now that his previous frustrations are long gone and he has found a home in Portugal with Benfica, playing as a defensive midfielder.
Although unconventional to the many who saw him in his younger years, the 31-year-old is relishing his newfound position, spraying passes to the forward line to help them score goals and win games.
The streets will never forget him, he is called Adel Taarabt.