Chelsea winger Hakim Ziyech shocked the world by announcing on Tuesday that he would retire from international football at the age of 28.
The Moroccan international has ruled out a return to his national team after he cited head coach Vahid Halilhodzic lying to him about his participation in the African Cup of Nations (AFCON).
Why did Hakim Ziyech retire from international football?
While speaking to Abu Dhabi Sports TV, Hakim Ziyech said: “I understand them, but I will not return to the Moroccan national team and this is my final decision. It is clear to me how things are going there and I am focusing on what I am doing and, Right now, that’s my club.”
The Chelsea star added that Morocco’s national team manager Vahid Halilhodzic lied about his involvement. “At the end of the day, it is a decision that he makes and you have to respect it. All the lies that this entails, for me it is clear and I will not return to the national team. I understand it and I am sorry”. [the fans]but that’s the situation we’re in,” the 28-year-old added.
Ziyech is believed to have had an argument with Halilhodzic after he was cut from the national team during his AFCON campaign last month. The manager had said that the Chelsea star would not be welcome in the team even if his name was ‘Lionel Messi’. Previously, he had accused the 28-year-old of faking an injury to avoid playing a friendly.
Al-Hilal will face Chelsea in the semi-finals of the Club World Cup
While Hakim Ziyech may not play for Morocco again, he is expected to play an active role in Chelsea’s World Cup semi-final match against Al-Hilal on Wednesday night. The match is scheduled to kick off live at 10:00pm IST on February 9th. The Blues qualified for the Club World Cup after beating Manchester City 1-0 in last season’s UEFA Champions League final.