By Safaa Kasraoui
By Safaa Kasraoui
Rabat – Moroccan international midfielder, Adel Taarabt, criticized Moroccan media on July 8, claiming it had negatively influenced his sporting career.
During an interview with national sports TV channel Arryadia, the 28-year old footballer revealed he had not played for the Moroccan national football team for two years. “I miss the national team,” said Taarabt.
He added that he has had a very hard time with his football clubs, including current Portuguese team, Benfica. However, the Moroccan was optimistic: “I am always here and I am always working to improve my skills.”
“My hometown makes my happy”
When asked about his native city, Taza, Taarabt said that the city is very important to him: “All my family members live in Taza. My mother and father’s family are there, [….] It has my roots; whenever I feel down, I go back to the city to visit my cousins and my family.”
Taarabt emigrated to France with his family when he was only 11 years old. “People, especially Moroccans, do not know that I always felt pressure. People were always expecting me to be the future Zinedine Zidane (French former footballer), a pressure that was always difficult to manage.”
While he knows he will not be able to forge a better career for himself, he does not regret what he has done so far. “I have already played for famous international teams, like Tottenham Hotspour, Queens Park Rangers,Benfica, which itself is an achievement.”
Taarabt has also played for France’s national under-17 and 19 teams.
During the televised interview, Taarabt mentioned the first time he was called to play for the Moroccan national team. “I asked my family, my mother and father, and they told me that it would be a pleasure for me and them if I accepted Morocco’s invitation, but emphasized it was my own career, telling me ‘you can do whatever you want’.”
“I think before I speak”
The footballer touched on past clashes between him and former coaches for the Moroccan national football team, including Moroccan Zaki Badou and Belgian Eric Gerets. “I have never done anything bad to them, I just was very honest. Whatever I felt like I wanted to say, I just said it without thinking of the consequences.”
Taarabt made a number of mistakes while playing for the Moroccan team. On the eve of the national team’s match against Algeria during the 2012 African of Cup of Nations qualifiers, he decided to leave the training camp and
consequently did not play the match.
Taarabt has blamed Moroccan media for continuous rumors, which he claimed were untrue. “They keep publishing stories that I went partying here and there, which is not true.” He continued that the majority of articles published were in Morocco, “from unprofessional journalists.”
“They were not aware that these rumors might affect my sporting career, and even my family.” The footballer added that his mother was always receiving calls from family, asking if there was any validity to the rumors that he had been fired from Benifica.
A potential future representing Morocco?
Earlier this year, Taarabt expressed his desire to rejoin the Moroccan national football team. “I’d be happy to join the Moroccan team in the future, and I will do my best with Genoa to have the opportunity to get back my Moroccan team’s jersey, which I had been hoping to defend during the African Cup of Nations,” Taarabt said.
The footballer’s wish may come true if he succeeds in developing his football techniques with Genoa FC. The Moroccan joined the Italian club in 2017, on loan from Benifica.