FC Schalke 04 head coach Huub Stevens knows all about Ibrahim Afellay's quality having coached him at PSV Eindhoven. So when the chance came to sign the talented midfielder on loan from Barcelona for the 2012/13 season, it was one the Dutchman wasn't going to pass up.
Born to Moroccan parents in Utrecht, Holland, Afellay's talent for football was evident from an early age. Playing with local side USV Elinkwijk until the age of ten, he moved to Dutch powerhouse PSV Eindhoven in 1996, where he rose through the ranks to become one of the club's leading lights, helping them to four Eredivisie titles and a Dutch Cup, not to mention being named Dutch Young Player of the Year in 2007.
In January 2011 he was added to the star-studded squad at FC Barcelona, where the trophies to continued to flow, as the Catalan outfit won an historic treble. Yet despite collecting six medals in 18 months at the Camp Nou, injuries restricted Afellay to just 41 appearances.
Following the Netherlands' disappointing performance at UEFA EURO 2012, the versatile attacker decided upon a new challenge, choosing Gelsenkirchen as his new destination, where he joins compatriot Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and former teammate Jefferson Farfan in one of the Bundesliga's most talented squads.
As one of the Berber community's most prominent members, Afellay is sure to attract a whole new legion of fans to Schalke. And if he can make anything like the impact that fellow Netherlands international Huntelaar has made at the club, he may well establish himslef as a true cult hero this season.