Adel Taarabt

Adel Taarabt blasts QPR, calls Harry Redknapp a “very bad manager”

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You may have thought it was over, but the feud between Adel Taarabt and Harry Redknapp is still going strong.

The two made headlines when Redknapp was managing Queens Park Rangers earlier in the year and called out Taarabt for being “three stone overweight,” and publicly spoke out about the midfielder’s wages.

For reference, one stone is equal to 14 pounds, meaning Harry called Taarabt more than 40 pounds overweight…

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Those comments led to a war of words between player and coach which Rangers owner Tony Fernandes called an “embarrassment.”

Redknapp resigned from his managerial position in February with Chris Ramsey taking over, and Taarabt left Loftus Road for Portuguese-side Benfica when his contract was terminated by mutual consent after QPR was relegated from the Premier League.

Taarabt is still firing shots at his former club and manager though, saying some players only cared about the money and labeling Redknapp a “very bad manager.”

Half the players at QPR didn’t care about the club, they were just making money. I had one of the bigger salaries but I cared about football because I loved football.

When I came for pre-season I told Harry Redknapp to his face, ‘This team is going down’. He said the same thing as me… that he agreed with me.

I don’t think [Redknapp] has the passion for the game like people think. Harry is not a bad person but he is a very bad coach and, for me, a very bad manager.”

Strong words from a man who only saw seven appearances for a team that finished dead-last in the Premier League. Compare that to Harry, who has managed over 600 matches in England’s top flight, third-most all time behind only Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger.

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Taarabt is a very skilled player, having played in the Premier League for Spurs and QPR while also scoring in Serie A for Milan. But his attitude has caused problems throughout his career, and he must clean up his act with the chance to play Champions League football for Benfica this season.

QPR 1-2 Everton: Lennon second effort gives Toffees the spoils (video)

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It was nervy at times, but Everton squeaked by Queens Park Rangers with a big 2-1 win on the road at Loftus Road to earn just their second winning streak of the season.

Aaron Lennon was big in the buildup to Everton’s first goal and he scored the second to send the Toffees through.

The opening 15 minutes proved exciting but physical, with challenges from both sides sending opponents toppling to the ground. QPR had a number of chances on the 10 minute mark as they pumped the ball into the Everton box, but nothing came of it. The Toffees then would go down the other end and take the early lead.

Arouna Kone started the impressive build-up down the left. He cut the ball into Aaron Lennon in the box, and with his back to goal, he touched to Leon Osman at the top of the box. Osman found Seamus Coleman on the right, and with space as a result of the ball movement, Coleman rifled home an accurate strike that hit the inside of the post and into the net for the lead inside 20 minutes.

[ RELATED: Watch full match replays ]

Bobby Zamora was the most dangerous home attacker to look for an equalizer, and he nearly had it but headed wide on the half-hour mark at the end of a Charlie Austin cross.

QPR would find the equalizer though, past the hour mark. Eduardo Vargas, who just came on five minutes prior as the first Rangers substitute, and on a corner-kick scrum the ball came to Vargas just in front of the near post and he poked it home past a flailing Tim Howard.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

It got worse for Everton as they saw Romelu Lukaku limp off, replaced with under a half-hour to go by Ross Barkley. But while QPR continually proved dangerous, Everton would be the deadly ones.

Lennon picked up the eventual winner when Coleman burst down the right and cut a cross along the ground through the box. The ball found Kone and while he couldn’t finish under a heavy challenge, the ball squirted out to Lennon and he powerfully thumped home the rebound for the lead.

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QPR wouldn’t go quietly. Their best chance came just moments before the final whistle as substitute Adel Taarabt clattered the bar, but it wouldn’t come off for the home side and they would fall for the fifth straight time, as the danger sirens grow louder. Meanwhile, the three points for Everton pushes them a full nine points above the relegation zone, virtual safety for Roberto Martinez as fans can breathe a sigh of relief.

LINEUPS

QPR: Green; Isla, Onhoua Caulker, Suk-Young; Phillips, Barton, Sandro (Henry 71′), Hoillet (Vargas 60′); Austin, Zamora (Taarabt 82′).

Goals: Vargas 65′

Everton: Howard; Coleman, Stones, Jagielka, Baines; Gibson, McCarthy, Osman; Lennon, Kone (Naismith 79′), Lukaku (Barkley 67′).

Goals: Coleman 18′, Lennon 77′

Redknapp-Taarabt war of words continues

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As Queens Park Rangers sit at the bottom of the table with only four points from eight matches, you would think the manager would be focusing on football and climbing out of the relegation zone.

At least that’s what the R’s supporters would want.

Instead, manager Harry Redknapp is continuing his war of words with midfielder Adel Taarabt, which has dominated QPR headlines since their stunning 3-2 loss against Liverpool last week.

[ WATCH: Redknapp blasts ‘overweight’ Taarabt ]

In his post game press conference, Redknapp called Taarabt “overweight,” while also commenting on his wages, which are rarely ever discussed publicly in football.

Taarabt fired back at his manager, claiming Redknapp was upset at the team’s play and was trying to turn the fans against the midfielder. The Moroccan international then went on to say Redknapp spent most of his time in the office, rather than on the training pitch with the team.

[ RELATED: Taarabt fires back at manager’s comments QPR releases statement ]

Redknapp has chosen to respond Taarabt, in what has turned into a PR nightmare for club chairman Tony Fernandes. In Redknapp’s most recent comments, the manager calls Taarabt’s claims “blatant lies.”

None of them were true. I’m out on that training ground every single day. Anyone who says I’m not out there every day, that is a lie.

When people say I’m not out there all morning, that is a blatant lie. I think it might’ve been someone else trying to be mischievous and telling him what to say.”

He also claimed Tarrabt has tested all the managers he has played for, but Redknapp is “the one that’s stuck with him.”

It’s time for Harry and Adel to bury the hatchet and stop publicly embarrassing each other and the club, because it looks like it’s going to be a long season at Loftus Road.

 

Adel Taarabt misses Morocco call-up because he wouldn’t answer his phone

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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.

Italy Roundup: Milan look set to sneak into Europe

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Italy still being the good Catholic nation that it is, on Easter weekend, all Serie A matches take place on Saturday. That means we here at Pro Soccer Talk have an early round-up of how clubs on the peninsula fared:

Saturday’s Results

AC Milan 3-0 Livorno
Quite possibly the biggest result in Serie A this weekend. Mario Balotelli, Adel Taarabt and Giampaolo Pazzini all scored to give the hosts all three points. Milan’s win, combined with results from Lazio, Torino and Parma, puts the rossoneri close to Clarence Seedorf’s dream of edging into Europa League. As for Livorno, well, they remain second from bottom, three points from safety. That’s what happens when you pick up just one point from six matches.

Atalanta 1-2 Verona
Verona, after experiencing a dramatic dip in form in the second half of the season, are suddenly back in the race for Italy’s final European place. Much of that’s due to Luca Toni, with the veteran scoring Verona’s second today, bringing his season total to 18 goals. Massimo Donati scored the visitors’ first, but thanks to Toni’s second, the late goal from Germán Denis was nothing more than a consolation for Atalanta.

Catania 2-1 Sampdoria
Ever since Siniša Mihajlović got himself thrown out in Sampdoria’s draw with Fiorentina, his side have been doomed to failure. Today they even lost to bottom side Catania. Sebastián Leto put in the first for the hosts, but Samp were able to equalize by the 61st minute through a goal from Stefano Okaka. The elefanti, however, were determined to get one last chance at staying in Serie A. Gonzalo Bergessio put in the winner just two minutes later, grabbing all three points for Catania…and keeping them five points back of safety.

Chievo 0-1 Sassuolo
This game had a much greater effect on the battle for safety. While many tables might currently show Sassuolo still in the bottom three, in Serie A, the tie-breaker is based on head-to-head record – and Sassuolo have taken four points off Bologna, with whom they’re even on points. Domenico Berardi, who hadn’t scored since putting four past Milan back in December, may have just saved his side from slipping right back down to Serie B. Which, actually, is where Chievo might wind up, as they’re just two points over the line.

Genoa 1-2 Cagliari
Cagliari were likely never going to be relegated, but with this win giving them an eight-point cushion, new head coach Ivo Pulga is likely to sleep better at night. It was actually the hosts that took the early lead, with Sebastien De Maio putting Genoa up inside five minutes. But the defender was at fault for the equalizer, falling asleep to allow an unmarked Marco Sau inside the area to grab the equalizer. Victor Ibarbo sealed the first isolani road win with his 82nd minute goal – and handed Genoa their fourth straight defeat.

Juventus 1-0 Bologna
It looked like Bologna were going to be able to hold on for a point, thus keeping the tiniest bit of distance between themselves and Sassuolo in the final relegation spot. But the rossoblu just weren’t up to the challenge of keeping out Serie A’s top side. Paul Pogba got on the end of a ball from Mauricio Isla, burying his shot in the 64th minute – and that’s all Juventus needed.

Lazio 3-3 Torino
Lazio and Torino combined well to make sure to blaze a clear path for Milan’s Europa League adventure. With both sides aiming for the three points that could’ve meant finishing the weekend in fifth, this match featured plenty of drama. Stefano Mauri opened the scoring late in the second half, but Jasmin Kurtić restored equality early in the second. A Lazio penalty, converted by Antonio Candreva, put the hosts back in front, but Panagiotis Tachtsidis equalized for Torino once more. It looked like the granata would come out on top after Diego Novaretti was sent off with ten minutes remaining – and, sure enough, Ciro Immobile put the visitors ahead in the last minute of normal time. But, amazingly, Candreva found yet another equalizer in the 93rd minute, leaving both sides with a lone point.

Parma 0-2 Internazionale
Parma’s quest for European football took a sad turn against Inter on Saturday. It all started when Antonio Cassano failed to convert a penalty against his former side. Thus, the two teams went into the break scoreless, but when Gabriel Paletta was sent off with a second yellow just after the restart, a nerazzurri win seemed inevitable. Sure enough, it took less than five minutes for Rolando’s header to put the visitors ahead, and Fredy Guarín’s late strike turned out to be unnecessary insurance.

Udinese 1-1 Napoli
Pepe Reina may have found himself out of a job thanks to this one, with the Napoli goalkeeper’s miserable pass allowing Giampiero Pinzi the chance to steal the ball, threading it through to Bruno Fernandes. The Portuguese had no trouble scoring, canceling out José Callejón’s first-half opener.

Still to come…

Fiorentina vs. Roma
This should be the most exciting game of the weekend – key word, “should.” Both sides love to attack, and both have plenty to fight for. Yes, Juventus have almost surely won the scudetto, but Roma still want to keep things tight and make things interesting. But Fiorentina will be well aware of the fact that Napoli dropped points at Udinese, and know that they could close the gap on third place – and the final Champions League spot – to just eight points if they manage to get a win at the Artemio Franchi.