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Upwind: the irresistible inconsistency of Adel Taarabt

How the Moroccan managed to throw it all away and how, despite this, we continue to love him

Upwind: the irresistible inconsistency of Adel Taarabt How the Moroccan managed to throw it all away and how, despite this, we continue to love him

Talking about Adel Taarabt is a bit like talking about the wind. How do you explain it, the wind? Something that at times there is, sometimes there is not. When you don't feel it in your face you don't even notice it, sometimes you forget even about its existence, as it happens for the Moroccan, who during his career has disappeared several times from the news pages without leaving any trace. The wind, however, when it arrives feels all right. You can not remain indifferent (you have to cover yourself, you have to get sheltered), as you can not remain in front of the talent of Adel Taarabt (you have to defend, you have to back away and hope that you do not get skipped).

In these cases YouTube is certainly helpful: on the platform there are several videos of people being dragged away by the wind, without the possibility of opposing its strength; on the same platform, moreover, there are videos of Adel Taarabt that applies the same concept to the opposing defenders. Here, for example, there is a 13-minute video with an unmistakable title: "More than 100 players humiliated by Adel Taarabt".

The Moroccan player is an atmospheric agent of chaos, it is the random element that messes up every floor. They know it well at QPR, where they saw all the destructive power of this man/hurricane who dragged the team into the Premier League disputing (as captain) an extraordinary season. At the end of the year, with 19 goals and 16 assists to the assets, he wins the "Player of the Year" of the Championship. It's 2011, Taarabt is 22 and a career to be written. The wind gets up, you can't stop it with your hands. And not even with your feet.




The wind can't stop it, it's true, but you can try to manage it, to exploit it in your favor. During Taarabt's footballing life, many have tried to store his strength to drag any type of boat. At the time of QPR, the sailor Neil Warnock had managed to bring together all the player's energy on the field, and the results were extraordinary. Just when you think you have grabbed Taarabt, however, he slips away, disperses into billions of atoms that wander into the cosmic nothingness of wasted talent, where all those particles of samples that didn't make it end up.

An emblematic anecdote for describing the windiness of Taarabt is that related to his escape - and could it not be otherwise: what better way to move, for the wind, than to run away, to take refuge elsewhere? In an unfortunate encounter with Fulham, with the team down 3-0 at the break, Warnock decides to lower the sail and let himself be carried away by the current. The coach takes off Taarabt after only 45 minutes of play and he, instead of sitting on the bench, leaves the stadium and goes to a nearby pub, as if it were the most natural thing in the world, as if he had been transported there directly by the wind.

When (in 2013) the QPR then retreats to the Championship, Taarabt decides to leave the boat adrift and to marry the Fulham cause. The weather, however, puts strong winds, and his honeymoon is swept away by a gust after only six months. The Moroccan, leaf in the wind of the transfer market, arrives at Seedorf's AC Milan. And it's love at first glance.



We could say that turning the wind into energy can be said by the Dutchman Seedorf, who arrived on the Rossoneri bench with the aim of grinding as many points as possible. To do this, the coach builds a new mill relying on the wind and its rules: Adel Taarabt introduces himself to the Milan fans with a sudden gust, a blast of talent in San Paolo stadium, a right-footed slap to the ball that goes inside with a disarming naturalness. The Rossoneri will lose that match for 3-1, the mill put up by Seedorf will stop shooting after a few months and Taarabt will also change air (how can you not do it, if you are wind?), but that network will always remain in the supporters' common imagination of Taarabt, who continue to preach their love for such a pure talent in the wind.


The windmills, however, also recall important moments in literature: Don Chisciotte de la Mancha decided to fight them despite everything, to try to win his absurd battle. The same thing was done by Benfica, who decided to bet on the Moroccan in the summer of 2015, when Taarabt had moved away again from every page of newspaper blown by the wind.

The adventure in Portugal will not go well. Indeed: it will not go right. Taarabt does not move, of the hurricane we had seen only at times there remains only a light breath, almost imperceptible. This is why Benfica decides to send him on loan and let him take off. The wind brings the sail of the Moroccan back to Italy: the port of Genoa, rossoblu shore, is ready to embrace the irresistible inconsistency of Adel Taarabt and his plays. On 29 January 2017 there is his official debut with the new shirt: Taarabt enters the field in the middle of the first half, gives class play and serves two decisive assists for the 3-3 final of Genoa. Another love has blossomed, the wind has risen again.



Everything seems to be going full steam ahead, Taarabt seems to have finally found its size and Genoa believes it has managed to put the wind inside a can. Utopia: the Moroccan recovers, it is true, he also manages to find a minimum of continuity but his nature is another, and going against his own nature is practically impossible. Words on honey for Juric, for the rossoblu environment, but the words take away the wind, which in the summer of 2018 dragged Taarabt away from Liguria.

A journey back to Portugal, a contradiction for the Moroccan, which in fact the wind in his career has never managed to satisfy him. On the contrary: it went against him, hindering a career that could have been really different - or not, and we must stop trying to find a complete meaning to the careers dispersed in the cosmic void of wasted talent. Yet there was and still is Taarabt, given his recent debut (almost four years after his arrival) with Benfica, defined by the newspaper 'A Bola' as "the greatest miracle of Bruno Lage", current Lusitanian technician. And then we just have to sit on a hill, waiting to find out if the wind will rise again.