Skip to main content

Djamel Mesbah: Man of Mystery


When news came in January that we were getting a player that played left midfield and left back, I think quite a few of us worried that he was Didac Vila 2.0. But I think most were hoping that he would be more fullback and less midfielder. But what we got is still uncertain. Mesbah has become Milan’s latest man of mystery.

I think red and black suit him, don't you?


So what do we know about this international man of mystery? He was born Djamel Eddine Mesbah, in Algeria, and is 27 years old. He began his football career in 1995 with the youth team of French club US Annecy-le-Vieux. Sounds mysterious to me. In 2001, he was scouted by Swiss club Servette FC, and joined them. As he progressed, he earned a spot on the first team in 2003.

Unfortunately, Servette was facing financial difficulties, so in the summer of 2004, he moved to FC Basel, where he was used mostly as a sub. In January of 2006, he went out on loan to Lorient, who were playing in the French Ligue 2. But misfortune led to him being injured before he could debut, and thus, he never featured for the club.

That summer, he signed for the Swiss second division club FC Aarau. This time, he managed to become a regular starter, and played 2 full seasons with the club. But his next venture would be with FC Luzern, starting in 2008, where he was only a sub and made only 6 appearances the whole season. Mysterious, indeed.

Wait, shouldn't they both be wearing red & black? Mystery.

The man of mystery was just spinning his web of mystery further when he was loaned out to Serie B side A.S. Avellino 1912. There he made 27 appearances in the season. Which seemed to have piqued another Serie B club’s interest in him, as Lecce ended up signing him in the summer of 2009.

As if his constant switching of clubs wasn’t mysterious enough, at Lecce, he played left midfield, central midfield, left wingback, and left fullback. Lecce were promoted to Serie A the next season. Coincidence? I think not. Okay, maybe I hope not. Also, strange rumors that he was moonlighting as a circus performer while at Lecce began to arise. Reports were neither confirmed nor denied, but sources say that he was fond of riding giraffes and assisting trapeze artists.

As if that wasn’t mysterious enough, since 2010, Mesbah has been called up to play for the Algerian National Team. As a matter of fact, he will be playing a friendly this week for them. This guy is all over the place. International man of mystery, indeed.

Mesbah sure has a lot of different uniforms. Very mysterious.

Which brings us to January of this year, when the man of mystery mysteriously transferred to AC Milan. (That I know of, the circus rumors have completely subsided.) His transfer raised more questions than it answered. Although a few questions have been answered. Like which position will he play? Why is Antonini starting ahead of Mesbah? Can he cross the ball well consistently, or is he a glorified second league player?

Stats show a career total of 13 goals, so he clearly is trying to keep a low profile, or maybe just doesn’t like to celebrate. But from what I’ve seen so far, he’s very solid on defense, which is something we’ve been missing on that side. He’s okay at getting forward, but his crossing ranges from decent to not so much. It’s hard to know who the real Djamel Mesbah even is, although more playing time could help us figure that out.

Unfortunately, this man of mystery may not ever truly be revealed. But my fantasy is that he will shed the mystery and become a solid left back for us, something we have been missing for way too long. Enough with the ridiculous circus rumors, what kind of a hack blog would even post such pictures? He’s a hardworking, talented, left-footed player whose name does not start with A or end with i and he seems grateful to be at a big club. I say we take our chances and give him the starting spot. Welcome, Mesbah! Mystery solved.


Our next match is Palermo-Milan
Saturday, March 3 • 18:00 CET (12noon EST)


This post inspired by the music of PIL