Instead of Ronaldo or Messi, I was Sterling's idol - Taarabt

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The Morocco midfielder, who once enjoyed a successful stint in England, recalled the compliments he received from famous players

Benfica star Adel Taarabt said Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric told him he was good enough to feature for either the Spanish La Liga giants or Barcelona and has admitted his fault in not actualising the dream.

He also speaks about how Manchester City star Raheem Sterling looked up to him.

Taarabt moved to England in 2007 from French side Lens, but he struggled to make an impact at Tottenham Hotspur who sent him to Queens Park Rangers on loan. The move was made permanent in August 2010.

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The Morocco international made a name for himself at Loftus Road and helped QPR win the Championship in the 2010-11 season.

He also claimed the Football League Player of the Year award and made the PFA Championship Team of the Year for that campaign.

Taarabt’s impact in Neil Warnock’s team earned him new recognition in England but the 30-year-old did not live up to expectations following the Hoops relegation from the Premier League in 2013.

"I don't like to say this about myself, but I think if you talked to everyone who saw me when I was a young talent, many would have said I'd play for Real Madrid or Barcelona one day,” Taarabt told FourFourTwo.

“Even Luka Modric said that to me once. But it didn't happen. Not only because of others but because of me."

Taarabt, who penned a new three-year deal at Benfica this August, has played in all but one game for the Portuguese Primeira Liga outfit so far this season.

He went on to reveal he got a message from Sterling who regarded him as his mentor during his time at Queens Park Rangers.

"Raheem Sterling texted me a few months ago. I was listening to an interview where he said I was his idol at QPR," he continued.

"These days it would be Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi, but when he was a kid he watched me!"

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