While some players tend to make the most of their talent throughout their careers by playing to their strengths, others are extraordinarily talented but never manage to fulfil anywhere close to their true potential.
These are the players whose careers some fans tend to look back on and think ‘what if’.
While Spurs have had quite a few players belonging to the latter category, Adel Taarabt is certainly a raw talent who did not fulfil his potential in North London.
The Morrocan was labelled the ‘next Zidane’ when he arrived at Spurs in the January of 2007 (Sky Sports). His quality was in no doubt from the second he first stepped on to the pitch as his ridiculous skill and ability on the ball left many defenders mesmerised.
However, for all the trickery and outrageous pieces of skills he managed to pull off on a consistent basis, his decision making was always a little suspect.
He never really managed to establish himself as a regular during his time at White Hart Lane and was eventually sold to QPR in the summer of 2010 after a successful loan spell at Loftus Road.
While he did go on to shine for Rangers in the subsequent years, he has failed to hit major heights since then, having brief spells at AC Milan and Fulham before settling down at Benfica.
Former Spurs defender Ricardo Rocha, who played with Taarabt during the midfielder’s teenage years at Spurs, has opened up on how extraordinarily gifted he was.
He also revealed that he and Taarabt always discuss their time in North London when they catch up with each other.
Speaking to Portuguese publication Record (as relayed by Sport Witness), Rocha recalled: “At 18 he (Taarabt) already had a brutal technical quality. In training, he’d break it all… I also played with Bale, who was signed at a young age from Southampton. We had an excellent team.
“We lived close to each other (Rocha and Taarabt) and used to give him a ride for training. We created a good relationship, and whenever we are together at any Benfica event, we talk about those times.
“There have always been coaches and players confirming his quality, but that player was very clinging to the ball. He continues to make all those things, but I value him because he knew how to find himself. He has a strong character.”
Spurs Web Opinion
With respect to pure ability with a ball at his feet, I believe Taarabt might be the skillful player I’ve ever seen at Spurs. The fact that he had such a disappointing career goes to show how one needs much more than technical ability to be successful at the top level.
Despite having all the skill in the world, Taarabt lacked tactical understanding and mental toughness, which is why he was never able to maximise on his talent.
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