While he hasn’t played in England since leaving Queens Park Rangers for Benfica back in July 2015, Adel Taarabt managed to remain in the headlines with a series of controversial incidents in Portugal, notably struggling with both managers, Jorge Jesus and Rui Vitoria.
Overweight and struggling with off the field incidents, the former Tottenham prodigy, who left Spurs in 2010 for QPR’s Loftus Road after three years of sporadic form, eventually ended up going on loan to Genoa.
Now playing regularly for Croatian manager Ivan Juric in Serie A, the attacking midfielder took some time to discuss his ‘rebirth’, if you will, in Italy by giving an interview to Il Seccolo XIX, even if things didn’t start off too well.
He said: “I was training by myself, and I manned up to go talk to Juric. I asked him for a second chance. He told me he had nothing against me and gave me a week to show him what I could do.
“I worked like a madman. I really put in the effort. So much effort. I can even say that I’ve never worked as hard as I have done here, at Genoa. Running, working with the ball and under pressure.”
Saying such things, when the Tottenham and QPR faithful had so much hope in you, won’t go down too well back in London, and it seemed the player was basically hinting that he’s only now realised that being a professional footballer isn’t just a hobby.
He said: “You cannot have fun and be a footballer at the same time. Being a footballer is a job. I’ve had to change and live like a professional. I’ve changed everything. I’m eating well, drinking well, living well, going to bed early, around 11pm.
“I couldn’t continue like I was before. I followed a strict diet and lost nearly two stone in three and a half weeks without putting my health at risk. it was hard, but worth it”.
The former Spurs and R’s forward also admitted that he’s once again found a love for football, one he had lost in the past, although he didn’t state exactly when that happened.
He said: “If my team lost, I used to go home and not care. Now, if we lose, it annoys me.”
Where was that attitude when he was in London and Portugal?
That’s what Tottenham and QPR will want to know.