“He caught my eye at first sight,”
“A name known, it reassures everyone. But I ask quite the opposite to my scouts, “said a few days ago Julien Fournier, general manager of OGC Nice, France Football. The maxim will find many illustrations in recent years. The latest is called Youcef Atal.
Youcef Atal will have had the honor of being one of the last prey of Serge Recordier, known has one of the best recruiters. It will have been an happy coincidence, because before moving to AC Monaco, Recordier was scouting a match in Belgium, in Mouscron, during which plays the Nigerian Taiwo Awoniy, that the recruitment cell supervises. But that day, it is Youcef Atal, a young Algerian playing for the opposite camp, that attracts the attention of Recordier. “He caught my eye at first sight,” conceded the recruiter to AFP. The player, who checks all the boxes of the recruitment made in Nice, joins the club three months later.
Transportation problem turns into luck
Youcef Atal rhymes with spontaneity. In Nice, the Algerian landed with his contrasting personality, reserved off the field and a crazy competitor on the on the turf. His teammates, Dante mentions : “Atal, he plays as if he was at the bled. I saw from his first training that he had something … He has football in his heart, plays instinctively. “It must be said that Youcef Atal whipped the country and did not always have the recognition he knows today. “He comes from a poor family, his father was unemployed says Amine Labdi. Labdi his the former sports director of the JMG Soccer Academy at Paradou AC, where Atal was developped. With his family, they lived in Algiers but they could not keep their rent for lack of means.
Atal leaves USM Algiers and joins the ranks of the great JS Kabylie, but another obstacle stands in his way. The young player, who lives about thirty kilometers from the stadium, is struggling to get to training without means of transportation. “His
father went to see the president to put a transport at his disposal but he refused. This is where the idea of the JMG academy of Paradou, a club with a boarding school appeared. Atal easily passed the integration tests. ”
“Youcef Atal is the only one in my group who is afraid of losing his job”
At age 16, the young player arrives in a 3rd division club, created in 1994. The Paradou AC has forged a solid reputation as a training club thanks to its partnership with the JMG Soccer Academies of Jean Marc Guillou. Upon arrival, Atal will become accustomed to a reputation as a hard worker who will never leave him. “There was a coach who told me:” Youcef is the only one in my group who is afraid of losing his job “, smiles Amine Labdi. The native of Mechtras climbed the internal ladder of the club, then the Algerian divisions with Paradou.
In the field however, he goes down a notch. Winger, he found himself later under the orders of Josep Maria Nogués, former coach of Girona and Real Betis. “For me, he needed spaces, he is very fast, vertical and has a great tendency to attack, recalls
the Spanish coach. He started on the right and then, as he was generating a lot of danger, he went left to get into the penalty box. “In addition to his assists, the neo-lateral scored a few goals and got several penalties , contributing to a historic promotion in the first division in 2017.
Rule of the 1-2-3, amazing dribbler and ovation
Youcef Atal has not changed his habits and has remained this very offensive lateral in Europe. “He is explosive and can bring a lot offensively. I believe he will become a great side right in the future, “mentionned Christophe Jallet a few weeks ago. He is one of the best dribblers for Nice (3.8 dribbles per game) just like one of the best interceptors ball (2.2 interceptions per game), Atal has worked hard to balance his contribution between the defense and the attack. “We had set the 1-2-3 rule, rewinds Josep Maria Nogués. The first was to defend and get the ball back as soon as possible, the second to find a relay with a teammate and the third to plan an attack if the game requires it. It helped him a lot to read the game because he went from 1 to 3 directly because of anxiety. ”
His beautiful performances with Paradou opened the doors of Europe and the Algerian selection. Atal responds to his first selection in June 2017 for a friendly match against Guinea. “In the field, there was Mahrez, Brahimi, Bentaleb … But it was Atal’s name that the stadium chanted. It was unbelievable. Above all, Algerian football is hoping to end its troubles to find a right back in the long run. Just like the OGC Nice, which seems to hold a little nugget, as it likes them. On the other side of the Mediterranean, glances full of pride are watching him. Amine Labdi: “Youcef, not only is the symbol of Paradou and the training work of JMG soccer academies, but also of all the young local players who are struggling to break into Algeria.