The club continued to renew the forward line this summer – Raphinha and Lewandowski arrived – and Abde ended up leaving at the last minute to Osasuna.
There were other clubs like Elche and Valladolid, who also pushed for him, but he finally decided to go to Osasuna, a team with a solid project and an inciting coach like Jagoba Arrasate.
“I don’t want a winger. I want Abde”, the coach told Braulio Vázquez, the sporting director, according to ‘Diario de Navarro’.
The player explained his reasoning at the presentation:
“I called Braulio in the morning and told him I wanted to come to Osasuna. My brother told me it was the best option and so did my father. I also had it clear but when Elche arrived I had doubts”.
Some doubts that, after consulting with his entourage, were diffused.
“I have very good memories of El Sadar because I scored the first goal and the fans were incredible and I liked it a lot. I’m feeling very welcome at the club and [know them] very well. I want to grow as a footballer. At this club, they are going to help me grow as a footballer”.
During his presentation, the winger reminded everyone about his sense of humour, repeating the phrase “yo encaro” (which he first said a few months ago when he was asked what Xavi asked him to do).
Good start for Osasuna
Abde has made a good start in Osasuna, although for the moment he is being more of a catalyst than a central player.
At El Sadar they already knew him: with Barça, he scored a goal and drove the defence crazy. And with Osasuna, he is the same Abde: a player who enjoys the individual challenge.
He is one of the best dribblers in the team. The coaches now want to focus on his end products: assists and goals.
He has featured in three league games so far and has played just 58 minutes. But the feeling is that when he has the ball, things always happen.
His debut was dazzling with an assist after a trademark move. With a spectacular touch.
Arrasate sees him ready to be a starter. “He can perfectly be a starter. I’m happy with him because he has assimilated what we need very well. He is being decisive in several areas, he has one on one, he assists, finishes, keeps the ball, defends… he has come here to be important”.
The winger is currently training with the Moroccan national team for the matches against Chile and Paraguay.
Abde has yet to make his debut for the senior team, despite being called up for the Africa Cup of Nations last December. At that time, the player opted not to be called up and to help Barça, who needed to have strikers available.
He could do so today against Chile at the Estadio Cornellà-El Prat.