Chelsea attacker Hakim Ziyech has announced that he has retired from international football and will not represent Morocco anymore in any official capacity. The Moroccan attacker was not selected for the Africa Cup of Nations after a dispute with national team head coach Vahid Halilhodzic.
Hakim Ziyech joined Chelsea from Ajax for a reported fee of €40 million and signed a five-year deal with the European champions. The former Ajax star had established himself as one of the best attackers in Europe during his time at the Dutch club as he played a key role in their run to a league title and a Champions League semi-final run in 2018-19. The 28-year-old hasn’t replicated his impressive displays at London so far, as he has struggled with constant minor injuries.
Ziyech was excluded from the Morocco men's national team squad by coach Vahid Halilhodzic in playing in the AFCON after he was displeased with the midfielder's attitude during a friendly in June. The manager faced several questions about Ziyech's future in the national side after his side crashed out of the tournament in the quarter-finals and he again reiterated that the Chelsea man would have no chance of returning to his side. Ziyech has now formally announced his retirement from international football.
"I understand them, but I will not return to the Moroccan national team and this is my final decision. It's all clear for me how things are going over there and I am focusing on what I am doing and, right now, that is my club. At the end of the day, it's a decision he makes and you have to respect it," Ziyech told ADSportsTV.
"All the lying that comes with it, it's, for me, clear and I will not return to the national team. I understand and feel sorry for [the fans], but that's the situation we're in."
Hakim Ziyech has announced his retirement from international duty with Morocco. pic.twitter.com/EFpBSLF8nJ— Zach Lowy (@ZachLowy) February 8, 2022