Abde – the first Moroccan-born to play for FC Barcelona by Arsen
Abdessamad Ezzalzouli also known as Ez Abde, was born on the 17th of December in Morroco, moving to Elche in Spain at the age of 7. In Spain, he often played for local clubs like Raval CF, CD Pablo Iglesias, Kelme CF before reaching Promesas Elche CF. He underwent a trial for Elche CF but was rejected. However, in 2016 he was signed by Hércules, where he made his official professional debut for Hércules in 2019 against UE Olot. In the 20/21 season, Abde was given much more game time, and at the end of the season, he was a regular for the team scoring 2 goals in 22 games.
In the summer of 2021, Abde joined Barcelona as the club paid his release clause of €2m on the last day of the transfer window. However, Barcelona was not the only club interested in the player. Also, Valencia and Real Madrid were monitoring his situation. Real Madrid was even close to paying his release clause. However, eventually, he decided to join Barça B, signing a contract until 2024, with an option to extend it to 2026 and a release clause of €200m. Abde made his Barcelona B debut against Nàstic. He did not stay long with the subsidiary as, after the sacking of Koeman, the interim coach Sergi Barjuan called him up to the first team, where he eventually made his debut for the first team against Alaves, playing only 10 minutes. Abde became the first player born in Morroco to play for Barcelona. Moreover, after the signing of Xavi as the first-team coach, he stayed in the dynamics of the first team. He managed to score his first La Liga goal against Osasuna. However, after the January window, he returned to Barcelona B. Furthermore, since his return, he has been in incredible form, picking up 6 goal contributions in 6 of his last appearances for Barça B.
Abde represented Morroco in the 2020 Arab Cup U20, where he scored 2 goals in 5 games. Eventually, after his great appearances for the first team, he was called up to the Africa Cup of Nations. However, the player rejected the offer as he wanted to focus on the club and take this opportunity of being in the first team dynamics. He was called up for Morroco for their Word Cup qualifiers against Congo but did not manage to make his debut for Morroco due to an injury.
Similar player: Wilfried Zaha
Abde is a right-footed winger who feels more comfortable cutting inside to his stronger foot on the left side. He is a player that likes to take on players. Abde has extraordinary dribbling ability, acceleration and sprint speed that he uses to beat defenders. Very dangerous on counter-attacks, Abde is a player that is hard to defend against due to his unpredictability and determination. Excellent body balance and footwork are one of his virtues as a winger. Often, he tends to look for crosses, being one of his strengths. Abde has a strong left foot, allowing him to play on the right while still cutting inside whenever an opportunity arises. Abde has no issues helping in defence, however, there is still room to improve his defensive contribution. Another thing he needs to improve is his decision making and end product, which has been much better since his return to Barcelona B after some period with the first team. Overall, he has improved a lot since his debut for Barcelona B.
Future at the club
Abde’s future looks uncertain as Barcelona has acquired quite a few quality signings upfront. Next season, his options are either to go on loan or stay with Barcelona B and help them fight for promotion and, at times, stay in the dynamics of the first team. As of now, I see it difficult for him to be a regular in the first team. However, if he improves and works hard, we could see him flourish either in the first team or somewhere at the top level.
Potential Rating: 8.5/10