MLS Preview: Top 10 Must Watch Players Of African Descent - #6 Saphir Taider

Saphir Taider of Algeria controls the ball against Philipp Lahm of Germany during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Round of 16 match between Germany and Algeria at Estadio Beira-Rio on June 30, 2014 in Porto Alegre, Brazil.  (June 29, 2014 - Source: Julian Finney/Getty Images South America)

Saphir Taider of Algeria controls the ball against Philipp Lahm of Germany during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Round of 16 match between Germany and Algeria at Estadio Beira-Rio on June 30, 2014 in Porto Alegre, Brazil.

(June 29, 2014 - Source: Julian Finney/Getty Images South America)

Taider is one of MLS’ top imports from Europe’s big soccer leagues. The 27-year-old arrived at Montreal Impact in the January of 2018 from Italian Serie A’s Bologna and took no time to adjust to new surroundings. By the turn of the year, Taider had started 34 competitive matches for the Canadian club, scored 8 goals and serving up 5 assists.In other words, he instantly became a crucial figure in the heart of Impact’s midfield. The Algerian international is entering his second season in the MLS and the club will be counting on the midfield maestro to run the show and help the club better their 7th place finish in the 2018 season.

Prior to joining Montreal Impact, Taider appeared for Italian clubs Sassuolo, Bologna and Inter Milan including a short stint at the English Premier League’s Southampton. His elder brother represents the country of his father’s birth,Tunisia, while Taider plays for the rivals, Algeria, the mother’s country of origin. The 27-year-old central midfielder made his international debut in 2013 and has since played 44 matches for the Desert Foxes, scoring 5 times. He helped the nation to reach the knockout stages of the 2014 FIFA World Cup and was also a key figure as the North African nation reached the quarter-finals of the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations.

Impact teammate and midfield partner, Samuel Piette, described Saphir as a complete player.

We can see this year he has a lot of goals and assists, so he’s participating as well offensively. He’s got a good shot. I mean he hasn’t scored a screamer so far but he’s had a couple of good shots. He’s not an individual player, he likes to make plays [to] the others. Obviously we have Nacho [Piatti]  so he looks for him. He looks for the strength of the team and tries to play on that. He doesn’t really have weaknesses, to be honest. He’s a very complete player.
— Samuel Piette, Montreal Impact