Hakim Ziyech has decided to put an end to all the drama with the Morocco national football team, by calling it quits and retiring from international duty. The 28-year-old had represented the country of his ancestry rather than his birth 40 times since choosing them over the Netherlands in 2015.
He announced his (slightly) surprising decision after Chelsea’s training session in Abu Dhabi earlier today.
“I will not return to the national team. Yes, it’s my final decision.”
“I understand [and] I feel sorry for [the fans, but] that’s the situation right now.”
Head coach Vahid Halilhodžić fell out with the Chelsea forward last summer and did not want to reconcile, and while his own position is now under threat after their disappointing Africa Cup of Nations campaign, it sounds like even if he were gone, Ziyech would not want to return.
“It’s all clear for me how things are going over there. It’s all clear for me and I’m focusing on what I’m doing and right now that’s my club.
“Of course [I feel bad], who doesn’t? But at the end of the day it’s the decision he (the head coach) makes and you have to respect it but if all the lying comes with it, it’s for me clear. Like I said before, I will not return to the national team.”
-Hakim Ziyech; source: Abu Dhabi Sports via Metro
So that’s a bit sad. Even I personally think international football is lame and useless to begin with, it clearly means a lot to the players themselves. (And it clearly means the world to Senegal because WOW THOSE CELEBRATIONS!)
Perhaps Ziyech can reconsider if the situation changes with the Morocco setup. Until then, more wizarding for us, and that’s just fine by me!