Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Larbi Ben Mbarek: The forgotten genius

The first to strike gold in Europe
Was that famous Black Pearl
Fondly known as Benbarek 
To others the Moroccan Earl

El Ouatane aged fourteen
Honed the Black Pearl's stealth
Two Spanish titles for El Prodigio
Order of Merit after his death

Forty three goals for Stade Français
As Larbi walked the walk
Fifty six as Spain's Perla Negra
La perle noir du Maroc

From twenty Francs a day
An Iberian prince at Marseille
The first ever "black pearl"
Very high praise from Pele

Eight goals against Southend
A first French cap against Italy
War loomed and Larbi went home
With the arrival of the Nazi

French journalists raged in despair 
When Atletico signed a cheque 
One wrote; ‘Sell the Eiffel Tower, 
But not Ben Barek'

Idéal Club Casablanca and US Marocaine
Stade Français adding spice
Atlético Madrid Los Rojiblancos 
Where Larbi won La Liga twice

Nineteen caps for Les Bleus no myth 
Danced on dictator Franco's deck
Bel-Abbès and a stadium named
For Haj Abdelkader Larbi Ben M'barek

© emdad rahman

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