Adel Taarabt Has Transformed Into A World Class Defensive Midfielder And It's Astonishing To See
The fascinating career of Adel Taarabt, a player once touted by former QPR manager Harry Redknapp as the next Zinedine Zidane, has taken another remarkable twist in recent weeks.
Once known for his tricks and flicks, the Moroccan has adapted his game to become a composed defensive midfielder.
Contributing massively to defensive and attacking phases for Portuguese side Benfica, the previously frustrating Taarabt is now producing dominant performances from deep, with his latest Man of the Match performance against Belenenses a testament to his new role.
It's hard to believe but, Taarabt is genuinely a superb deep-lying midfielder and he's a joy to watch.
:movie_camera: 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
Your eyes do not deceive you. That is Adel Taarabt, expertly blocking a shot, 20 yards from his own goal. Warnock must've left Cardiff to join Benfica as their on-staff Adel-whisperer. pic.twitter.com/FN33t8YJ30
- Sam Clayton (@ShonashRavine) February 3, 2020
Nobody has ever doubted Taarabt's natural ability but it finally looks like he has found his ideal position, spraying passes to the forward line while helping in defensive areas.
The 30-year-old's journey at the Primeira Liga side hasn't been easy.
He penned a five-year contract with the Primeira Liga side in 2015, following his contract termination with Queens Park Rangers, and many had high hopes for his future.
But he struggled for form soon after and things hit rock bottom in 2017, when German second division side 1860 Munich rejected the chance to sign him because "one or two things didn't fit", according to sporting director Thomas Eichin.
His luck finally changed last year when Benfica manager Bruno Lage handed Taarabt his debut for the club, four years after signing.
He was subbed him on for Pizzi in the second half and the rest is history.
Ladies and gentlemen, it's Adel Taarabt time :fire:
Almost four years after signing with Benfica, he gets his first minutes for the club. Can he rescue three points in the title race? pic.twitter.com/URq4bOvcwL
- Maghrib Foot (@MaghribFoot) March 30, 2019
The defensive midfielder has made 16 appearances for Benfica this season and is now a regular under Lage.