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Getting To Know: Ibrahim Afellay

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Full name: Ibrahim Afellay
Squad No: 20
Position: Attacking Midfielder
Date of birth: 2 April 1986
Place of birth: Utrecht, Netherlands
Height: 1.81 m (5 ft 11 in)
Weight: 76 kg (168 lbs)

Ibrahim Afellay was born on April 2 1986 in the town of Utrecht to parents of Moroccan descent. He quickly joined the youth academy of local club USV Elinkwijk, where his natural talents were soon noticed. In 1996 he switched academies and joined the youth ranks of one of Netherlands' most successful sides, PSV Eindhoven.

Afellay developed his talents there for the next seven years. In 2003, at the age of just 17, he was promoted to PSV's first team. At first, Afellay struggled to get regular playing time,but he gathered valuable experience. His official debut as a proffesional footballer came on 14 February in a Dutch league match against FC Twente

After a difficult two year period, during which he played just 12 games, he became a full-time member of Eindhoven's starting XI. Since then he was one of PSV's most used players and was a key member of their title winning years.

Afellay left the land of the tulips as an almost eight year professional, despite just 24 years old, and was featured in 217 games with PSV, during which he scored 39 goals.

In the winter transfer window in 2011, Afellay's name was often featured in rumors linking him to many top European clubs. In the end, PSV Eindhoven reached an agreement with FC Barcelona and the Dutch youngster moved to Catalonia for €3 million.

With numerous talented midfielders already on Barcelona's roster, Afellay knew he will find it difficult to play regular football. Guardiola has mostly used Ibrahim as a late substitute, but the newcomer has also been able to showcase his talents in a handful of starts.

Afellay's debut came in a Copa del Rey match against Real Betis. In under half a season with Barcelona, he played in 19 games and was able to get on the scoresheet once, in a cup match against UD Almería.

At the beginning of Afellay's international career, the young man was faced with a decision to play for Netherlands or for the country of his parents, Morocco. He decided to represent the Oranje and despite a very talented midfield he quickly earned playing time.

Afellay's first international appearance came in a Euro 2008 qualifier against Slovenia on 28 March 2007. He was a a member of the Dutch team that finished as runners-up in the 2010 World Cup, but he played in only two games in South Africa. Overall Afellay has 31 national team appearances under his belt and he has been able to find the back of the net on three occasions.

Profile
Ibrahim Afellay is a very versatile player as he can play in the midfield, as a second striker and also on either wing. He has several attributes, including terrific pace, excellent technique and a thundering long-range shot. However, the Dutch international lacks physical strength and he can easily be outmuscled by strong defenders.

Honors
PSV Eindhoven

  • Eredivisie (4): 2004-05, 2005-06, 2006-07, 2007-08

  • KNVB Cup (1): 2004-05

  • Johan Cruijff Schaal (1): 2008

Individual

  • Dutch Football Talent of the Year (1): 2007

Afellay's contract ties him with the club until 2015 and a release clause of €100 million has been inserted in the 25-year-old's contract.

Next up: Adriano Correia

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