Adel Taarabt has always been a name synonymous with unfulfilled potential in the footballing world.
The Moroccan maverick lit up the English second-tier for a brief period at Queens Park Rangers, helping guide the west London side to the Premier League.
Taarabt appeared to be moving on from his dismal time with Tottenham, putting his array of fancy flicks and tricks to good use.
But it all went wrong after that. The Premier League was too much for Taarabt, with loan spells at Fulham and AC Milan doing absolutely nothing to revive the midfielder’s confidence.
Taarabt moved to Benfica in 2015 and since then, he has completely fallen off the radar. His loan spell at Genoa in 2017/18 failed to re-enhance his reputation.
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However, at the ripe old age of 30, Taarabt may have finally found his calling in the Portuguese capital.
A video from the Moroccan’s recent performance against Belenenses really is eye-opening, as it seems Taarabt has finally matured his game.
A composed number six dictating the play from deep and winning back possession, are we sure that’s actually Taarabt?
QRP fan @JordanJFoster echoed exactly those thoughts, writing on Twitter: “QPR fans will never forget what he did in the Championship, but no one would have expected him to develop into a player like this. From a No.10 that couldn’t be passed to in his own half, to a dictating No.6 – his footballing IQ is on another level.”
Taarabt is proof that you’re never too old in football to change.
While the best physical years of his career are likely behind him, the 30-year-old has adapted and finally put his masses of natural talent to good, effective use.
The same Twitter user who uploaded Taarabt’s masterclass against Belenenses emphasised the change in his game by re-posting a past highlights video of the Moroccan.
Back then, it was all about aesthetically-pleasing skills and luxury football, now it’s about end product.
Five years after his arrival, Benfica have a seriously talented – and newly motivated – star on their hands!