Abdessamad Ezzalzouli: Abde, the sting of Osasuna: “He’s going to be one of the best in Europe” | Sports

Every time Abdessamad Ezzalzouli (Beni Mellal, Morocco; 21 years old) steps onto the Sadar pitch, he turns the stadium upside down. He vibrates the Osasuna fans with the winger, but the beautiful story that he is starring in Pamplona could well have been cut short if it weren’t for a last-minute swerve that made him change his decision. A simple wasap The day before the summer market closed, when he had already chosen his destination, he led a turn that prevented his arrival in Elche and diverted him towards the Tajonar meadow, where they welcomed him with open arms when they understood that for a while they were going to enjoy a real gem.

“We knew it was good, but not that good”, a summary from the Navarrese club, one of the happiest in the league and located just one step away from the Copa del Rey final after the 1-0 win against Athletic on Wednesday . Against the people of Bilbao, as he had done three days earlier at Pizjuán and in the quarterfinals also played against Sevilla, the winger liquidated the rival with one of his characteristic stings, already a trademark. “Seeing him in training is a spectacle. He sometimes takes the ball and goes from three, four or five guys. It is impressive”, they describe from Osasuna, who managed to get hold of him on the horn and thus satisfy the desire of Jagoba Arrasate, who was looking for an extra point overflow and now enthusiastically attends the boy’s slaloms.

“He has street soccer. He grows up, accepts challenges and is very ambitious. It has character. You have to know how to carry it, but he has a very good background ”, describes Ramon Planes, sports director of Getafe and in his day the architect of Abde signing for Barcelona two years ago, when the attacker was a substitute in Second B with Hércules and he had barely played 10 games as a starter. “I was very clear about it, so I sent people to see it several times. It was risky, but it seemed different to me. Very decisive ”, continues the then Barça technical secretary, who played a card: without an economic fund, the club paid 2 million euros for him and with just a handful of games he already dazzled the Barça subsidiary.

He debuted in the first team under the command of Sergi Barjuán and later Xavi continued to give him a reel, although last summer –after 12 games and signing a target, precisely at El Sadar– the current coach opened the door for him as he could not guarantee him minutes , with Ansu Fati, Ferran, Rapinha and Dembélé as priorities for the attack lanes. That is when several teams knocked on Barça’s door for him, whose game has the aroma of Carrús, a humble neighborhood of Elche – with an average of 15,542 euros per person, according to data from the Tax Agency – where he polished the start, the trickery and dribbling. He took the gat to Osasuna, which offered him the right environment to develop his full potential.

Vacilón and without malice

“Coming from an elite locker room, we didn’t know what attitude he would have, but he is a super humble kid and always comes with a smile. He is like a child. From Barcelona they had already told us that he is very loved there and that they adore him ”, they transmit from the Navarrese entity. “He is a joker and hesitant. He has no filters, but he is transparent, he has no evil. He has adapted perfectly, ”they add from Pamplona, ​​where there is laughter when a fruit comes out of his mouth. cousin or a bro, and where Abde attracts attention with his accelerations on the green and the caps or the bizarre shoes with which he usually appears from time to time in Tajonar; “Around here we are more serious, but the heavyweights find it amusing and he has fit in very well with the group.”

Installed in an apartment in the Plaza del Castillo, the nerve center of the city, for Chimy Ávila he is “like a son” and Jon Moncayola remembers that “from time to time you have to yell at him for him to defend”, but the dressing room unanimously applauds a talent who should return to the Camp Nou next season and for whom the stands and Arrasate feel a predilection. Under the tutelage of the Basque coach, Abde continues to express himself as a skilled and poignant winger, a lover of vertigo and driving, and the milli in Osasuna he is enriching him at the time of withdrawal.

Abde celebrates his goal against Athletic.
Abde celebrates his goal against Athletic.ANDER GILLENEA (AFP)

“Here you go to one, without exceptions,” they remark from the club. However, the nature of the Moroccan – enlisted by his team for the World Cup in Qatar – is that of a free verse, inspired by Neymar’s antics with the ball. With 22 completed dribbles, he is the best dribbler pink, for the 21 of Kike Barja. “He has a lot of personality. He shows that he has been surrounded by good players, ”adds Moncayola. “After the World Cup it was a bit difficult for him, but when he is with spark and rhythm, he is an unbalanced player. What we have to do is give him that ecosystem so that he shines, generate those situations one by one. We know very well the player that he is he. He has won the game with genius ”, appreciated Arrasate after the victory against Athletic.

From spark to spark

His irruption in the Navarrese club –sealed on September 1, to the limit– was that of a lightning bolt. In his debut, against Rayo on matchday four of the championship, it took him just eight minutes to leave his mark by starting from the left flank, going past five rivals and assisting Rubén García, after double-footing on the ball. He was gaining minutes and showing off side by side and ride by ride, until before traveling to the World Cup he suffered a muscle injury and feared for his call-up.

Immediately, the coach Walid Regragui telephoned him to reassure him and assure him of a place in Qatar, although he only had 91 minutes there, spread over three games; even so, in the discount against France he drew a sensational maneuver that was about to end in a goal. Upon his return, Arrasate continued to give him flight and despite the rigorous expulsion in Cornellà –head to head with Pierre-Gabriel–, his electricity continues intact. Two accurate targets against Sevilla and another decisive spark against Athletic, regardless of the tactical discipline and culture of effort that they are adopting.

“The work he is doing now is going to get the best out of him, he is in the right place to improve and let himself be seen. It is very emotional, so you have to be on top of it, but it has a very good background ”, qualifies Planes, the same one who attracted Pedri or Araujo to Barcelona. “People don’t realize the level they can reach. I have no doubt: he will be one of the best in Europe in his position, for sure. At the time ”, he concludes.

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