'My final decision' - Ziyech rules out Morocco return as Chelsea star confirms international retirement at 28



Posted Wednesday, February 09, 2022 by Goal.com

'My final decision' - Ziyech rules out Morocco return as Chelsea star confirms international retirement at 28

The winger says he will not return to the national team and is now solely focused on his club career

Chelsea star Hakim Ziyech says he will not return to the Morocco national team amid an ongoing war of words with head coach Vahid Halilhodzic.

Ziyech was excluded from Morocco's Afcon squad and, after their elimination, Halilhodzic said Ziyech would not be welcomed back into the team "even if his name was Lionel Messi".

And the Chelsea star has now responded, hitting back by accusing the coach of "lying" while agreeing that he will not return to play for his country.

What did Ziyech say?

"I understand them, but I will not return to the Moroccan national team and this is my final decision," Ziyech told ADSportsTV.

"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. 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."

What happened?

The last time Ziyech played for Morocco was last June in a friendly against Burkina Faso, with that match being the starting point of his feud with the national team's coach.

After the Burkina Faso friendly, Halilhodzic said: "His behaviour in the last two matches, especially the last one, was not that of a national team player who, as a leader in the team, must be a positive role model.

"He arrived late and after that, he even refused to work. There was no point in discussing it afterwards, as a coach the answer is right there to see."

Halilhodzic doubled down on that assessment last week, saying Ziyech's behaviour on national team duty "does not fit the selection".

"He doesn't want to train, doesn't want to play," he said of Ziyech. "He doesn't take it seriously. I'm not going to beg him to come back.

"After the [Afcon] tournament three years ago, he was the most criticised. He was booed. You mustn't forget that."

Ziyech, who has earned 40 caps while scoring 17 goals, has featured 25 times for Chelsea this season, scoring six times.



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