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Tariq Spezie - a unique story, a Spanish dream (16th January, 2017)

His story is not unique. It is a story of a family fleeing violence, settling in a foreign land and making a name for themselves through hard work.

It's the story of a striker named Tariq Spezie. It's a story that interested me because his brothers (Omar and Nura) were born in Dubai, a city I've lived in. And he was born in Sharjah, merely an hour away from Dubai.

His Italian father from Verona (who worked in a tire company) and Spanish mother from La Mancha - which explains his last name Sevilla - saw the political situation in the region worsen. It eventually led to the Iran-Iraq War, and the family relocated to Italy with their one-year infant, and later to Spain.

Tariq played youth football in modest clubs in Catalonia, such as Racing Blanenc and Vilobí, and supplemented his fluent Italian with Castilian and Catalan. However, he moved to Valladolid due to a family relocation, and made his senior debut with Real Valladolid B at the age of 19. He would compete the 1999-00 season in the Segunda B and the next one in the Tercera with the club, scoring a combined 22 goals. He would play for another reserve team during the 2001-02 campaign, as he helped Espanyol B finish second in the Segunda B.

Tariq spent the following eight-and-a-half years in the Segunda B, with Cacereño (2002-03), Linares (2003), Palencia (2004), Sabadell (2004-05), Águilas (2005-08), Puertollano (2008-09) and Granada (2009-January 2011). In the 2008-09 season he scored a career-best 24 goals, and his achievements, then and in the past, were getting recognized. The time he scored one of the quickest goals in Spanish football - within seven seconds - while at Palencia. The time he became the Segunda B's top scorer with Puertollano. The time he played a charity match in Morocco along Ronaldo and Zidane - and shone despite not having the limelight on him.

His performances earned him a a move to Udinese (being immediately loaned to Granada) for 100,000 euros. He would add 19 goals for Granada in the 2009-10 campaign, which led to promotion. However, some at Granada were trying to get rid of him, not convinced he could deliver in the Segunda (a division he had not played in), and were trying to swap him with Alejandro "Chando" Torres in the summer of 2010. Nevertheless, no such move materialized, and Tariq was simply frozen out of the team in favor of new signingAlexandre Geijo.

Tariq Spezie


After just 147 minutes of action across six appearances in as many months he was loaned to Segunda side Huesca in January 2011 via Udinese. Eight goals in 18 appearances ensured the side would retain their league status, and moved to Huesca permanently in the summer of 2011. He would stay there until 2014, enduring a relegation to the Segunda B in 2013. Afterwards, he joined Segunda B side Huracán Valencia in July 2014; however, following his team's disqualification for financial issues in December 2015, he dropped down a league to sign for neighboring Castellón in January 2016. He retired in August of the same year.

He was the perfect mix between explosiveness and intelligently timed and disguised runs. But more importantly, he was the perfect representation of the opportunities available to those who seek them.

He was the perfect story to capture a footballing dream. And maybe there is more of that story to unfold.

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He was short. Very short. At 5'3", the left winger sometimes played in an over-sized shirt.

The ball never left his feet. His feet were tiny but they had magic. A dizzying array of body feints, close control, direction changes and sheer speed, often resembling a roller-coaster, left opposition defenders outwitted. And yes - sometimes, he frustrated. Sometimes, he was irregular.

But when he turned up, the world was at his feet.

If Juan Quero plays against Real Madrid he'll be playing against the club that let him go. The club that didn't think he had it in him to become a La Liga player.

The club that was wrong. Very, very wrong - he went fr…