In an interview with the English portal AthleticismAdel Taarabt recalled his passage through the Premier League and the Championship, after regretting the life he led in England, especially at night in London.
“Non-stop, madness”, began by describing the Moroccan international.
“In England, it is difficult for those who arrive. They hire you and then leave you alone. When I look here at the Benfica academy, at 13 or 14 years old, they think like real athletes. When I arrived in England, I trained for an hour or two, then I was on my own. I didn’t have the people around me to tell me this or that,” he admitted.
The Benfica midfielder admitted having found “another mentality” in Luz.
“The only thing they ask of you in England is that you show up on the pitch, and I came with that mentality. When I came here I thought it would be the same and I found it’s difficult because it was not the case, ”he assumed.
After a difficult start and two loans to Genoa, in 2018/19 he added the first minutes for the first team of the eagles.
“I became calmer. I started to think about what I could do better, I changed my life. I gave more time to my family. I have become completely professional. I changed the way I ate, I changed the way I slept. I feel better, fitter, with the intensity of the training we have. I go to the gym every morning before training.
“Now I believe more in what people told me. When I was younger I didn’t give them time, I thought I was always right. I loved playing football, I didn’t believe the stay. But now I know those things help you make a difference. Being healthy, sleeping well, all those things. But when you’re 20, you don’t feel that.
Taarabt even assumed that he had started surrounding himself with the right people. “When you play, you’re on top, everyone is your friend. When you’re down, you see the real ones. Now I have three or four friends, and that’s it. My life is clear and she is good.
The arrival of Bruno Lage at the helm of Benfica proved to be a significant change for Taarabt.
“He told me he didn’t understand how I was in this situation. When he arrived, we didn’t know each other, but I was training very well and he was happy,” he said, before explaining how he started to play more withdrawn on the pitch.
“It’s a different area, where you can’t risk that much. In England, I was free and the only thing I was asked to do was to create. Now I work on both sides, I try to create and defend as well. I have to be very disciplined. I don’t approach the area, I’m more like the man on the penultimate pass. It’s more about getting the team to play.”
The Moroccan midfielder also assumed that after the first year with Lage he wanted to ‘commit’ to the Reds, signing a new contract with a pay cut. “I felt the club was amazing. They always supported me, with everything. He was the right thing to do.”
Looking back, Taarabt says he is satisfied with his football career.
“Some people say I could have been one of the best players, but I don’t think so. Because I loved my time, when I was 18, 19, 20. At 18 I was already at Tottenham, at QPR I had great moments, I played for Milan, which is a big club, and I played the Champions League with them, I played with Ballon d’Or winners , I played with Luka Modric, I played with Kaka. Ok, maybe it could have been better, but I’m still very proud of the career I had.”