Taarabt: I'm the Moroccan Balotelli
Adel Taarabt has claimed that AC Milan have now signed the "Moroccan Mario Balotelli" to go alongside the real thing.
The 24-year-old was formally presented to the Italian press on Wednesday, having joined the Rossoneri on loan from QPR at the tail end of the January transfer window with a view to a permanent deal in the summer.
Taarabt immediately dismissed the perception that he is an awkward person to coach but did concede that he has a similar attitude to the enigmatic Balotelli.
"I don't have a difficult character, but maybe it can be difficult to accept people that sincere and forthright," the attacking midfielder mused. "In the world of football, these people are not always appreciated.
"But, on the contrary, I'm very playful and sometimes my attitude has been portrayed in a bad way.
"But I will be a friend to all of my team-mates and it's true that when Milan expressed an interest in me, I thought, 'They have the Italian Balotelli but now with me they will have the Moroccan Balotelli!'
"I cannot wait to get to know Mario better and make friends with him."
Taarabt also revealed that he is looking forward to working with former midfield ace Clarence Seedorf, who replaced Massimiliano Allegri as coach earlier this year after bringing the curtain down on his illustrious playing career, but explained that he models his game on France legend Zinedine Zidane.
"I have an idol and he's called Zinedine Zidane, because I grew up in Marseille," he enthused.
"I'm a trequartista. I'm love to play in attack. My preferred role is central, but I have no problem playing on the right or left.
"But I'm proud to play in a similar position to the one that the coach [Seedorf] covered when he was a player. He is fantastic.
"I believe that I will be able to learn from him. It's a great opportunity and I have great respect for him.
"I'm honoured to be here. It's a club of an incredible level. It's been a crazy chance for me and I cannot wait to make my debut in this jersey.
"I'm still very young and they say that I have talent. They have been saying for some years now that I should able to move to a club of a high level.
"Some time ago at QPR, I should have gone to Paris Saint-Germain but nothing happened.
"Now, however, I'm here and I cannot wait to show my value. I have the trust of [AC Milan CEO] Galliani and Seedorf.
"I hope that Milan will be a launching point for me to allow me to show my capabilities and to give my all for the team."
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