Nabil Dirar, 33, currently plays as a winger for the Moroccan national football team and the Turkish Club Fenerbahçe.
Rabat – Born and raised in a poor family in Casablanca, among his ten siblings, Nabil Dirar had a harsh childhood which made him a fighter from a young age.
“A lion never dies,” Dirar has said referring to his recovery from a severe injury in 2018.
Having expressed his dislike for school early in his life, Dirar moved to Belgium as a teen to begin his football career with Belgian football clubs RWD Molenbeek and Saint-Gilloise.
Dirar then transferred to Diegem Sport, still in Belgium, which placed him in the limelight as his performances drew the attention of various clubs, including Westerlo which signed him in 2006 which officially began his professional career.
Throughout his two-seasons with the Belgian football club Westerlo, Dirar suffered injuries which restricted his appearances with the club, but he still managed to attract interest from other clubs and ended up joining Club Brugge with a five-year contract in 2008.
After staying with the team for four seasons, Dirar decided to move away from Club Brugge which signaled the beginning of his international career
The Association Sportive de Monaco football club, AS Monaco, made a bid for him and Dirar joined the Ligue 2 side in 2012. The €7.5 million was the highest transfer fee ever received by Club Brugge.
Dirar stated that leaving Club Brugge for AS Monaco was an offer he could not decline, though he made an apology to the team’s then manager Christoph Daum.
In May 2017 Dirar decided to leave AS Monaco, seeking a new adventure on his international career path.
Dirar’s move from AS Monaco to Turkish Super Lig club Fenerbahçe with a €4.5 million transfer fee was announced on June 16, 2017. He signed a three-year contract with the prestigious Turkish club with the option to extend for an additional year.
Despite rumors sparking last year about his departure to France’s Toulouse or Saudi Arabia’s Al Hilal, Nabil still remains with Turkey’s Fenerbahçe today.
“Nabil Dirar is still under contract with Fenerbahçe. He is focused on this season with his club,” said Fouad Ben Kouider, his agent.
Playing for the Atlas Lions
Dirar’s Belgian and Moroccan citizenships make him eligible to play for both national teams.
The winger initially decided to play for the Belgian national football team back in the 00s and repeatedly declined Morocco’s offers, until finally joining the team for the 2010 FIFA World Cup qualification against Mauritania in 2008.
His international career was then in doubt after he was left out of the national team’s squad. Dirar later revealed that he was not getting along with the team’s then manager, Roger Lemerre, reporting that he was “treated like a dog”.
In 2012, Dirar was welcomed back to the team and was invited to the Africa Cup of Nations; an offer he declined thinking that he would once again not be included in the national team squad.
While at AS Monaco Dirar became a father when his wife gave birth to their daughter, Layana, which led him to cancel his international commitment for Morocco.
Dirar made his official Morocco national team come-back in March 2015, where he played as a right–back in the team’s loss against Uruguay.
Today, he plays for the Moroccan national team and has stated that he considers himself more Moroccan than Belgian.
Dirar’s history of injuries caused Moroccan fans to worry about his most recent injury which caused him to take a break from training just 10 days before the beginning of the African Cup of Nations (CAN) 2019 tournament.
Head coach, Herve Renard, has allayed fears saying “Nabil Dirar had a small calf alert and there is no point taking unnecessary risk.”
Dirar’s injury did not hold him back and he played in Morocco’s opening game against Namibia in the CAN tournament, with the Atlas Lions clinching a win in the final 45 seconds.