Hakim Ziyech made it pretty clear last month that he was done with Morocco, and that he was not interested in going back on international duty, even if the national team were to start calling him up again.
But never say never, right?
Ziyech has reconfirmed his international retirement yesterday after the game, following reports that Morocco had “pre-selected” him for their upcoming World Cup qualifying playoff games. There had been some recent claims that the Morocco football federation had mediated a reconciliation between Ziyech and head coach Vahid Halilhodžić, though which the latter’s camp had denied.
Either way, Ziyech’s out, and seemingly out for good, as he confirmed on Instagram.
“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 other choice.
“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.”
-Hakim Ziyech; source: Instagram
Ziyech’s club-focus has certainly been paying off as well, with (some of) his best football since joining Chelsea. Long may it continue!