Taarabt: Failed PSG move hit me hard
AC Milan midfielder Adel Taarabt claims he "suffered a lot" after his dream of moving to Paris Saint-Germain was dashed 18 months ago.
Taarabt, 24, joined Milan from Fulham last month, swapping the Cottagers' battle against relegation for the Champions League and making his debut in the competition in the Rossoneri's last 16 first-leg defeat to Atletico Madrid on Wednesday.
The Morocco international could, however, have been instead lining up for PSG against Leverkusen 24 hours earlier.
Pursued by the French champions in the summer of 2012 after catching the eye in the colours of Queen's Park Rangers, Taarabt might have joined Thiago Silva and Zlatan Ibrahimovic in arriving at the Parc des Princes but for the Ligue 1 club's then-sporting director Leonardo.
"I was the Qataris' priority. They met me before all the other players they signed. They wanted me to sign. But I think Leonardo had other priorities," Taarabt told RMC.
“Paris did make QPR an offer of 12 million euros all the same. My clause was 17 million. But it was too much for Leonardo, too much for a player who had had just one good season in the English second tier
"I suffered because of that transfer falling through, I suffered a lot. In my head, I was at PSG, at a big club, I was going to play the Champions League. And then you go off with QPR again. I had a nightmare of a year. It was hard. But I'm happy to have bounced back at AC Milan."
The first half of this season was barely more pleasurable for the talented but temperamental midfielder, who made just a handful of Premier League appearances before his surprise loan switch to the San Siro where he has featured in his new club's last three competitive outings.
"When I signed here, I always said that I had faith in my qualities, and that I thought I was up to playing for AC Milan. It's true that people were surprised because I wasn't playing at Fulham," Taarabt stated, adding veteran Milan defender Philippe Mexes had helped him settle quickly.
"I didn't know him at all, and didn't expect him to be so cool. He's really helped me. I consider him as a big brother. In Italy, he's respected. He's had ten years of his career here. Even though he's not playing, he's super professional. He's there, he encourages you."