Every once in a while one of these bizarre stories comes through where technology hinders the advancement of the global game.
The story of Pajtim Kasami and the Malfunctioning Fax Machine comes to mind, where the Fulham player’s proposed transfer to Serie A’s Pescara was scuppered due to a paperwork transfer failure.
This time around, the player is somewhat to blame, and the name isn’t all that surprising.
Badou Ezzaki, manager of the Moroccan national team, told reporters that AC Milan winger Adel Taarabt was not included in his country’s squad for a trio of late-May friendlies because he wouldn’t pick up his phone.
“How can I call up a player who doesn’t respond to the phone calls or messages that we send?” Ezzaki asked.
If I told you this happened without naming the player, you’d likely have included Taarabt as one of your three guesses. The 24-year-old has had a history of personality issues, including – but not limited to – saying he should have signed for Arsenal when he was on Spurs, taking former manager Neil Warnock on an unsuccessful wild goose chase to Morocco, and being called a “fruitcake” by Harry Redknapp.
So it should be no surprise that Taarabt’s me-first attitude has struck yet again, this time leaving his national team out to dry.
Credit to Ezzaki, however, for brushing the incident under the rug and giving credit to his other players. “You [the media] have given too much importance to this situation because a national team doesn’t consist of just one player,” Ezzaki insisted. “Our project is one that consists of several players that want to engage and contribute to the team.”
Taarabt has shown again and again why his talent on the field is unquestionable, but when a player like Taarabt decides when and where he wishes to try and when he wishes to not, it’s more than frustrating for any manager, and Ezzaki is just the latest in a long line to become fed up with Taarabt.