Hakim Ziyech’s international career has been full of twists and turns, but it’s unlikely anyone saw this coming.
The Chelsea outcast retired from playing for Morocco earlier this year and insisted he wouldn’t go back, but he has been included in their squad for the Qatar World Cup.
Why is Hakim Ziyech playing for Morocco again?
Ziyech announced his retirement from international football in February this year after he was left out of the Africa Cup of Nations squad by Vahid Halilhodzic.
The former Morocco boss initially fell out with Ziyech in June 2021 after the playmaker refused to play in a friendly.
Also, the manager wasn’t a fan of the Chelsea man’s attitude and didn’t hold back when discussing why Ziyech wasn’t called up for the AFCON: “The players I have selected are the best in the country.
“I don’t select a player who can unbalance the group.
“Not even if his name is Lionel Messi. Ziyech’s behaviour does not fit the selection.
“He doesn’t want to train, doesn’t want to play. He doesn’t take it seriously. I’m not going to beg him to come back.”
Wigan to hire Kolo Toure as new boss just days after his brother Yaya rejected job
How to watch explosive Cristiano Ronaldo interview with Piers Morgan in full
Beer BANNED at World Cup as Qatar force FIFA into U-turn and Budweiser post response
Everything you need to know about World Cup from fixtures to stadiums and timings
Man United looking to sack Ronaldo as club confirm they are taking ‘appropriate steps’
Van der Sar makes Arsenal transfer revelation after Martinez deal with Man United
Ziyech decided enough was enough after that snub and announced he was retiring from the national team and didn’t give any indication he would return.
“Obviously, I understand them but I will not return to the national team.
“Yes, it’s my final decision. It’s all clear for me how things are going over there, it’s all clear for me and I am focussing on what I am doing and that right now is on my club.
“Of course, who doesn’t but at the end of the day, it’s a decision he makes and you have to respect it, but on the other hand, if all the lying comes with it, it’s clear for me.
“Like I said before I will not return to the national team. I understand and I feel sorry for them.”
That looked like it would be the end of that as far as Ziyech’s international career was concerned.
But Halilhodzic was sacked in August, and new head coach Walid Regragui has moved swiftly to repair the damage with Ziyech.
In 41 international appearances, he has scored 17 goals and provided ten assists – plus, he can play on either wing or behind the striker.
It isn’t surprising that Morocco have brought Ziyech back, and the player ‘immediately accepted’ the invitation to rejoin the Atlas Lions.
Certainly, it’s been a rough year or so for Ziyech at club and international level, but hopefully, he can have a great World Cup and remind everyone how talented he is.
Watch the World Cup with talkSPORT
At talkSPORT we are powered by fans, so come and join us for the ultimate World Cup fan experience this winter – at the talkSPORT Fan Zone.
In a huge indoor venue under the arches at Waterloo in London, we’ll bring you live screenings of every World Cup game.
There will be Q&As with talkSPORT talent, you’ll be part of our live broadcasts, and there will be plenty of food and drink on offer too.
Come and enjoy the best World Cup fan experience in London – and enjoy a pint on us – with tickets for England and Wales’ group stage games on sale now HERE!