Ziyech slams Morocco “misinformation” and confirms international retirement

Chelsea forward Hakim Ziyech has been ostracised by the Morrocan national team, left out of the squad for almost a year after being accused of “not taking it seriously”

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Chelsea forward Hakim Ziyech has confirmed that he has retired from international football – accusing the Moroccan Football Federation of spreading “misinformation” about his commitment.

The row between the 28-year-old and Morocco’s national team has been ongoing for almost a year, after the last of his 40 caps for the Atlas Lions in June 2021 in a 1-0 win over Burkina Faso.

Ziyech played 90 minutes in that encounter, but drew ire from manager Vahid Hallihodzic, accusing the Blues star of refusing to work and suggesting he did not take international duty seriously.

He said at the time: “His behaviour in the last two matches, especially the last one, was not that of a national team player who, as a leader in the team, must be a positive role model.

“He arrived late and after that, he even refused to work. There was no point in discussing it afterwards, as a coach the answer is right there to see.”

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Chelsea star Hakim Ziyech has quit international football after a feud with the Moroccan Football Federation

“He doesn’t want to train, doesn’t want to play,” he said of Ziyech. “He doesn’t take it seriously. I’m not going to beg him to come back.

“After the [Afcon] tournament three years ago, he was the most criticised. He was booed. You mustn’t forget that.”

The Bosnian coach subsequently left Ziyech out of the Morocco side which reached the knockout stages of this year’s Africa Cup of Nations.

In the aftermath of the tournament Ziyech had hinted that he would call time on his international career, with Halihodzic claiming he wouldn’t recall him, “even if he was Lionel Messi ”.

However, the 69-year-old was ready to complete a remarkable return, with reports that Ziyech was set to be included in the squad for the latest batch of international fixtures.

But Ziyech has said the lies spread by FRMF president Fouzi Lekjaa are too prevalent to ignore and made it clear he will not represent his nation again.

His statement on social media reads: “I love my country and playing for the Moroccan national football team has been the honour of my lifetime, so it is with great sadness that I must announce that although the FRMF President today confirmed that I will be pre-selected for the team, I won’t be returning to play for Morocco.

“I’m sorry to disappoint the fans, this was not an easy decision to make, but sadly I feel I have no choice.

Ziyech has said his full focus will now be on his club football with Chelsea


Jane Stokes/ProSports/REX/Shutterstock)

“Despite giving my all to the team over the past 6 years and supporting them my entire life, the leadership continue to release misinformation about me and my commitment to my country. Their actions have made it impossible for me to continue to be part of the team.

“”I learned the news about the pre-selection at the same time as everyone else, so I’m releasing this statement to ensure that you hear the truth directly from me.

“Thank you to everyone who has supported me, I wish the team nothing but the best for the future.

“My focus as a player is at my club Chelsea FC.”

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