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Sofyan Amrabat is among the candidates for the title of the best player of the World Cup in Qatar

Sofyan Amrabat is the soul and engine of a Moroccan national team that has already made history at the World Cup in Qatar. He cannot be missing from the list of candidates for the title of the best player of the tournament.

Morocco is the big revelation of the World Cup in Qatar, where it became the first African national team to qualify for the semi-finals in the entire history of the competition. Excellently organized by Walid Regragui, the coach who only started his tenure in September of this year, the “Atlas Lions” conceded only one goal in the final tournament ( an own goal) and impressed in the tough duels they’ve had. On their way to the penultimate act, the Moroccans met some of the powerhouses of world football: Croatia, Belgium, Spain and Portugal. None of these teams managed to impose their game.

Yassine Bounou, or Bono, was one of the reasons. The goalkeeper of the Africans is having a remarkable tournament, and the peak of his evolution was the match against Spain, in the round of 16, in which he was decisive for the qualification of Morocco following the penalty kicks. But the man who ensures the balance in Regragui’s team and who is probably the emotional leader of the Moroccans is Sofyan Amrabat. The 26-year-old defensive midfielder has managed to keep big names under control in Qatar, from Modric to Bruno Fernandes, and has been virtually error-free so far. This is confirmed by the numbers.

In the 5 matches played so far, in which he has been a full-time player, he has managed 41 recoveries (which he is the leader in the current edition of the World Cup), has been dribbled only twice and has not committed any serious defensive errors. The performances of the Fiorentina footballer increased the level of confidence among his colleagues and brought the necessary calmness in the difficult moments of the games.

In the job description, Amrabat is a “destroyer”, but the Moroccan born and raised in the Netherlands has assimilated the teachings of football that rather encourage technique and the constructive part. And we see that in his game. Amrabat always has his head up, passes calmly, and covers a large area of ​​the field. He is neither the star of the team nor the leader of the locker room, but he has a little bit of each, which helps him lead. Bono explained very well how important he is for the Moroccan national team

At the end of the match against Spain, the Moroccan goalkeeper was named the player of the match and was asked who would have deserved this award besides himself. “The whole team,” was Bono’s initial response, but then came back: “But if I really had to name just one player, it would be Sofyan Amrabat.” And not without reason. Against the Spaniards, Amrabat gave an impressive gala performance. Which almost didn’t happen.

“It was questionable whether I would play. The night before the game, I stayed with the physio until 3am and had an injection before the game. I couldn’t let my colleagues and my country down. Now I am very happy and very proud”, said Amrabat, after the benchmark evolution of his career so far.

Amrabat’s road to World Cup stardom hasn’t exactly followed an ordinary trajectory. Born in 1996, in Huizen, Holland, of Moroccan parents, he trained at Utrecht, the club where he also spent the first years of his professional career. In 2017 he transferred to Feyenoord, and a year later he arrived in Belgium, at Club Brugge. He did not manage to impose himself on the two teams, and because of that, in 2019, he had to give himself restart. He was loaned to Verona, where he quickly connected with the fans and therefore he found his rhythm. His developments in the north of Italy immediately impressed, and Fiorentina did not think twice and bought him after only half a season, leaving him to finish through the championship in Verona. Since the summer of 2020, he has been playing for the Tuscans, whom he helped to return to the European cups after almost a decade, at the end of last season.

At the national level, Amrabat played for the Netherlands at U15, then chose to represent Morocco. He was also present at the World Cup in Russia, where he played only 14 minutes, in the defeat against Iran (0-1). Four years later, he is a fixture in Regragui’s revelation team and even more than that. “Obviously I get a lot of calls asking about Sofyan. Everyone saw that he is the best defensive midfielder at the World Cup,” said his agent, Mohammed Sinouh.

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