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“I will not return to the national team” – Morocco’s star footballer Hakim Ziyech announces shocking retirement amid ongoing rift with manager

Ziyech's last appearance for Morocco came in a friendly game (1-0 win) against Burkina Faso in June 2021.

Rohan Gulaty Author

Updated - 9 February 2022 10:37 am

Following the long-standing issues between Chelsea/Morocco’s Hakim Ziyech and his national team manager Vahid Halilhodzic, the footballer made a shocking retirement announcement on Tuesday. Notably, the 28-year-old has been out of the national side for last few months after the manager had criticized him for his unprofessional behaviour.

Despite Morocco’s exit in the quarter-finals at AFCON 2022, Halilhodzic revealed that Ziyech will not be called into the national team. He said, “Ziyech’s behaviour does not fit 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.”

And now, it seems like the footballer has also had it enough. While fans thought that the ongoing saga will come to an end some day and Ziyech will return, but unfortunately, things have actually blown out of proportion.

ALSO WATCH | Old interview of former Chelsea manager Frank Lampard praising Hakim Ziyech

The star footballer, who has 17 goals in 40 appearances for Morocco, has called it quits to his international career amid the ongoing controversy. While talking about Morocco fans and his future, he said, “Obviously they (the supporters) are (unhappy). I understand them, but I will not return to the national team. I focus on my club now. I understand the supporters’ decision, I’m sorry for them.”

“Yes, this is my final decision. It’s all clear for me, how things are going over there. It’s all clear for me, and I am focussing on what I am doing. It’s the decisions he (Halilhodzic) makes. You have to respect it, but if all the lying comes with it, it’s pretty clear. As I said before, I will not return to the national team,” Ziyech added.

Ziyech was accused of faking an injury

Notably, the whole controversy began around six months back when Morocco’s manager had accused Hakim Ziyech of faking an injury ahead of a friendly game against Ghana. As a result, the footballer was eventually dropped from the national squad.

ALSO READ | Journey of Senegal’s Kabir Khan who guided his side to historic AFCON 2022 title

Despite playing a key role to lead his side to top of standings in AFCON 2022 qualifying group, where he scored 3 goals and 2 assists, he was not called back for the mega event. His absence was felt by Morocco during the tournament as they eventually crashed out in the quarter-final stage.

Ziyech’s last appearance for Morocco came in a friendly game (1-0 win) against Burkina Faso in June 2021, which could eventually turn out to be his farewell match in international arena, until and unless something dramatic happens in order to get the star player back in national side.


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