Football

Chelsea’s Ziyech dropped from Morocco squad due to unacceptable behaviour

Chelsea star Hakim Ziyech has been omitted from Morocco’s World Cup qualifying squad due to “unacceptable behaviour”, Vahid Halilhodzic, the country’s head coach, confirmed.

Ziyech came from the bench in a 1-0 win against Ghana in June, but he was not included in Halilhodzic’s squad for the World Cup qualifiers against Sudan and Guinea.

Halilhodzic revealed that he left Ziyech out because the 28-year-old winger fell well short of the required standard.

“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 told a press conference on Wednesday.

“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. For me, the national team is above everything, nobody can hold it hostage.”

The Morocco boss claims Ziyech initially feigned injury so as not to play against Ghana and then refused to warm up when asked to come on in the second half.

“For the first time in my coaching career, I have seen behaviour that disappoints me,” Halilhodzic 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. You can’t cheat with the national team. You are 100% there or you are not.”

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