Why is Hakim Ziyech in Morocco’s World Cup squad after retiring from international football earlier this year? The Chelsea outcast makes a dramatic turnaround
Hakim Ziyech’s international career has been full of twists and turns but it’s unlikely anyone saw it coming.
The Chelsea outcast retired from playing for Morocco earlier this year and has insisted he won’t return, but has been included in their Qatar World Cup squad.
Why is Hakim Ziyech playing for Morocco again?
Ziyech announced his retirement from international football in February this year after being left out of the Africa Cup of Nations squad by Vahid Halilhodzic.
The former Morocco boss first fell out with Ziyech in June 2021 after the playmaker refused to play in a friendly.
Moreover, the manager wasn’t a fan of the Chelsea man’s attitude and didn’t hesitate to explain why Ziyech wasn’t called up for AFCON: “The players I picked are the best in the country.
“I do not select a player who can unbalance the group.
“Not even if his name is Lionel Messi. Ziyech’s behavior doesn’t match the selection.
“He doesn’t want to train, doesn’t want to play. He doesn’t take it seriously. I’m not going to beg him to come back.
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EVERYTHING IS CLEAR
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Ziyech decided enough was enough after that snub and announced he was retiring from the national team and gave no indication he would return.
“Obviously I understand them but I will not return to the national team.
“Yes, this is my final decision. Everything is clear to me, how things are going there, everything is clear to me and I’m focused on what I’m doing and that’s right now on my club.
“Of course who doesn’t but at the end of the day it’s a decision he makes and you have to respect it, but on the other hand if all the lies come with it, it’s clear to me .
“As I said before, I will not return to the national team. I understand and I feel sorry for them.
It seemed to be the end of Ziyech’s international career.
But Halilhodzic was sacked in August and new head coach Walid Regragui moved quickly to undo the damage with Ziyech.
In 41 international matches, he scored 17 goals and provided ten assists. Moreover, he can play on the wing or behind the striker.
It’s no surprise that Morocco brought Ziyech back, and the player ‘immediately accepted’ the invitation to join the Atlas Lions.
Admittedly, it’s been a tough year for Ziyech at club and international level, but hopefully he can have a great World Cup and remind everyone how talented he is.
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