(Profile posted on 07/05/2012)
Date of Birth: - 25th February 1990.
Nationality: - Born in France, but Moroccan parents and family.
Height: - 5ft 9inches.
Position: - Midfielder/Winger.
Club History: - Montpellier.
Linked With: - Bayern Munich
- Liverpool (Unconfirmed)
- Roma (Unconfirmed)
- Inter Milan (Unconfirmed.)
Estimated Market Value: - Roughly £8million.
At the age of 13, Belhanda was scouted by the likes of Lyon, Marseille, Montpellier and St Etienne. After discussing the move with his parents, Belhanda decided that he should join Montpellier in order to remain close to home.
Towards the end of the 2007/2008 season, (after spending several years developing in the youth system) Belhanda was promoted to the club's reserve team, which was playing in the Championnat de France amateur (the fourth level of French football).
In the following season, he played both on the reserve team and with the club's under-19 team in the Coupe Gambardella, the national youth cup competition in France. In the latter competition, Montpellier won the title only for the second time in it's history. Belhanda appeared in all six matches the team contested. In the final, he played the entire match as Montpellier defeated Nantes 2-0.
27th July 2009 - As a result of the under-19 team's cup success, several of the members of the squad were awarded professional contracts including Belhanda, on which he agreed to a three-year deal.
Subsequently, Belhanda was then promoted to the senior team by new incoming manager Rene Girard. Despite being brought up under a defensive mentality, Girard preferred to utilize Belhanda as an attacker by using him as a left-winger.
August 2009 - Belhanda made his professional debut in the team's opening league match of the 2009/2010 season against Paris Saint-Germain, in which the match ended 1-1.
19th September 2009 - Belhanda scored his first professional goal in a 4-2 defeat to Marseille at the Stade Velodrome. Belhanda then went on to start 8 consecutive matches for Montpellier, and started to build up quite a reputation.
13th January 2010 - Belhanda received his first red card after receiving two yellow cards in a 4-0 loss away to Monaco.
After this incident, Belhanda began appearing primarily as a substitute, as in the team's final 12 league matches of the season, he only started 4. Belhanda finished the campaign with 34 total appearances, 1 goal, and 3 assists as Montpellier surprised many by finishing in fifth place, which resulted in the club qualifying for the Europa League.
29th July 2010 - Belhanda opened the 2010/2011 campaign by making his European debut in the first leg of Montpellier's UEFA Europa League third qualifying round with Hungarian club Gyori ETO (which Montpellier won 1-0). In the second leg, Montpellier were defeated losing on penalties after the match finished 1-0 in favour of Gyori in regular and extra time.
19th August 2010 - Belhanda signed a two-year contract extension with Montpellier until 2014.
22nd August 2010 - Belhanda made his first league start of the season in a 0-0 draw with Caen.
16th October 2010 - Belhanda scored his first goal of the season in a 2-0 victory over Sochaux. He went another two months without scoring before converting the opening goal in a 1-1 draw with Auxerre.
In the Coupe de la Ligue (A French Cup competition) Montpellier surprisingly reached the final of the competition. Belhanda appeared as a substitute in the team's first two matches of the competition, but was inserted as a starter in the team's 1-0 semi-final extra time win over Paris Saint-Germain. The win over Les Parisiens sent Montpellier to its first major final since the 1993/1994 season when the club reached the final of the Coupe de France. In the final, Montpellier faced Marseille and were defeated 1-0 (Belhanda played the entire match).
20th March 2011 - Belhanda scored the match-winning goal against the eventual league champions Lille. Belhanda closed out the campaign appearing in 13 of the team's final 14 league matches (he started 12 of the matches). He finished the season with 42 appearances and three goals and despite the successful individual season for Belhanda, Montpellier finished the season in 14th place.
The following season, Belhanda was changed position into the playmaker role just behind the striker. The move was ultimately a success as Belhanda opened the campaign scoring two goals in his first three matches in wins over Auxerre and Rennes.
27th August 2011 - During a 2-1 defeat to Lyon, Belhanda received a straight red card after kicking out at Lyon midfielder Miralem Pjanic following a challenge.
Belhanda returned to the team following the September international break and, after two matches, scored his third goal of the season in a 2-2 draw with Bordeaux.
Two weeks later, Belhanda scored and assisted a goal in a 3-1 away win against Caen. For his performances in the month of November, Belhanda was awarded the UNFP Player of the Month award.
21st December 2011 - In his final match before departing the club to participate in the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations, Belhanda scored the opening goal in a league match against Evian in the 47th minute. Minutes later, he assisted on a goal by Giroud to put Montpellier up 2-1. (However, Montpellier were unable to retain the lead after conceding three second-half goals to lose 4-2).
4th February 2012 - Belhanda returned to Montpellier appearing as a substitute in a 1-0 win over Brest. Fours days later, Belhanda returned to the starting lineup against Chateauroux in the Coupe de France. In the match, he scored the final goal in a 2-0 win.
11th February 2012 - Belhanda converted a penalty in a 3-0 win against Ajaccio. A week later, against first place Paris Saint-Germain, Belhanda scored the equalizing goal just before half-time to draw the match at 1-1. The match eventually finished 2-2.
Montpellier (as of 07/05/2012): - 107 appearances, 17 goals, 9 assists.
First of all, I'd like to say I had an overwhelming amount of requests for this profile, so I hope that this profile measures up to expectation/hopes!
Anyway, my thoughts on Belhanda aren't the same as most people.
For this profile, I actually called in one of my friends to watch over some footage for me just to support my opinion on Belhanda. My original thoughts on Belhanda was that he's a great a passer and mover of the game, as he can play little one-two's and make off the ball runs, or even on the ball runs (dribbles). He hasn't got the best range of passing, and is more of a short passer of the game, but utilizes it to the maximum, and actually creates chances with a very simple technique as he has a very good eye for through balls etc. I'd also say he's a very pacey individual, which probably derives from one of his previous positions on the left wing. Building upon his pace, he is also a skilful player who isn't scared to take on opponents and try and get past them with confidence with his quick feet etc, and often to good effect.
However, there is one thing I really, really do not like about this player- his diving. The amount of times I have seen this player go down extremely quickly with minimal contact is extraordinary. I sometimes wonder if he just prefers it down on the ground, perhaps he finds it comfortable? But as a football fan, I absolutely despise it. He'll have an immense solo run with skill, power, determination etc, but all of a sudden he'll just throw himself to the ground like a 4 year old whiney kid in Asda because their mum won't buy them some sweeties. For me, his temperament is also an issue, as he seems to be a tad mopey. If he isn't getting the ball, or he's having a poor game, then he just seems to give up, which to me isn't good enough. A professional footballer who dives and has such a poor mentality is one I will always question, and for that reason it's difficult to judge whether he'd cut it in the PL.
However, I have been reliably informed that Belhanda will more than likely be moving to Germany or France (Munich or PSG respectively), so it is unlikely Belhanda will move to England this summer. I personally think that at the moment, he wouldn't cut it in the PL, as for the reasons I've said. His talent is undeniable, but his general mindset is so very poor. I know a lot of you folk like Belhanda, but I'd honestly say that there's more to a player than just his talent.
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