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Ziyech announces retirement from the Morocco NT

Morocco: Hakim Ziyech retires from international football after AFCON 2021 snub

February 8, 2022 By Emmanuel K. Budu-Annor
The Chelsea playmaker has stated that he will not be returning to the national team after being omitted from the AFCON squad.

Hakim Ziyech has announced his retirement from international football, ending his spell with the Moroccan national team at a premature age of 28. The Chelsea midfielder's decision comes after he was omitted from the The Atlas Lions' squad which featured in the just ended Africa Cup of Nations.

It is no secret that Ziyech and Morocco head coach Vahid Halilhodzic have been at loggerheads in recent times and the narrative remains that the friction between the pair was the reason for the player's snub. Before the turn of the year, Halilhodzic questioned the attitude of the former Ajax star and subsequently accused him of faking an injury in order to avoid being part of a friendly.

The last time Ziyech was involved in a game for the North African nation was in June against Burkina Faso where he earned his 40th cap. In his absence, Halilhodzic's side managed to finish as Group C winners at the 2021 AFCON, defeated Malawi in the Round of 16, before crashing out of the competition in the quarter-final following their defeat to eventual finalists Egypt.

Ahead of Chelsea's FIFA Club World Cup semi-final encounter with Al-Hilal Saudi on Wednesday, the 28-year-old told reporters that he will not be playing for the Morocco national team again. Speaking to ADSportsTV, he said: "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 [Vahid Halilhodzic] made and you have to respect it. 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."

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