Ziyech has been the subject of scathing accusations made by Morocco head coach Vahid Halilhodzic after the Chelsea midfielder was omitted from his nation’s squad for their World Cup qualifying double-header
Chelsea midfielder Hakim Ziyech has hits back hard after he was accused of “refusing to play” by Morocco head coach Vahid Halilhodzic.
Having omitted the ex-Ajax playmaker from his latest squad for their two World Cup qualifying matches against Sudan and Guinea, Halilhodzic also accused Ziyech of “unacceptable behaviour” and supposedly feigning an injury during their June friendlies with Ghana and Burkina Faso.
The 28-year-old has appeared for just eight Premier League minutes this season, coming on as a substitute in the Blues’ victory over Arsenal in August after suffering what was initially believed to be a ‘serious’ shoulder injury in the UEFA Super Cup clash with Villarreal in early August.
The star’s national boss took aim at him in a press conference, stating: “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 has to be a positive role model.
“He arrived late and after that, he even refused to work,” claimed the Bosnian gaffer. “There was no point in discussing it afterwards, as a coach the answer is right there to see.
“For me, the national team is above everything, nobody can hold it hostage.”
Halilhodzic also claims that Ziyech feigned an injury to try and avoid playing against Ghana in June, and refused to warm-up when asked to come on in the second half as a display of his anger at being named as a substitute
“For the first time in my coaching career, I have seen behaviour that disappoints me,” the 68-year-old added. “A player who refuses to play a game, admittedly a friendly, on the pretext that he is injured.
“The medical staff made several examinations and said he could play. He then refused to warm up in the second half because he was disappointed to be a substitute. For me, that type of behaviour is unacceptable.
Michael Regan – FIFA)
“You can’t cheat with the national team. You are 100% there or you are not.
Ziyech responded on Friday with a strongly-worded Instagram post, writing: “Next time when you speak SPEAK THE TRUTH THEN… !!!”
The midfielder also added a clown emoji which will no doubt stoke the fire with the nomadic Halilhodzic, who has managed both International and at club level across three different continents his 29-year coaching career.
Morocco claimed a 2-0 win at home to Sudan on Thursday, putting themselves top of their four-team group with one game played.
They next travel to Guinea on Monday as they bid to reach Qatar.
Between now and the tournament taking place in November and December 2022, Ziyech may find minutes hard to come by at club level too, with the addition of Romelu Lukaku and form of Kai Havertz making competition in the Chelsea attack even fiercer.
Blues manager Thomas Tuchel was able to keep the Moroccan at Stamford Bridge over the summer amid heavy links with a transfer to AC Milan.