Hakim Ziyech’s transfer to Chelsea from Ajax was announced in February, the cancellation of the Dutch league due to COVID-19 global pandemic meant he never completed the league neither did he get the chance to say a proper goodbye to the fans, at a club he contributed to over 100 goals and was player of the year for three consecutive seasons.
He flew into London last week and has since begun individual training at the club’s training complex at Cobham, he was a guest at Stamford Bridge in Chelsea’s match against relegated Norwich City where he watched his new teammates snatched a narrow 1-0 win. He spoke to the club’s official website afterwards.
To be a Chelsea player and to watch a match at Stamford Bridge means a lot to him. “When you are a young guy you always want to play for a big club, in the Premier League of course.When I was young, the players that played here, it was always a big club so I am very happy and it means a lot.” he said.
Hakim had been an admirer of the London club since he was a youth player in Heerenveen, he cited club legends like Drogba, Lampard and Terry as players he looked up to. “We were always for Chelsea, and if you look at it now, if you can play here it means a lot to me.” the Moroccan said.
Chelsea’s all time highest goal scorer and current manager, Frank Lampard, one of the players Hakim looked up to was important for his decision to join Chelsea. “I always say I like the style of playing football that he’s using now and I like to play what he’s playing right now, for me it’s a big decision to come to Chelsea.” Ziyech said, describing his admiration for what Lampard is doing at Chelsea.
Earlier before he became a Chelsea player, he knew none of his new teammates, but from the moment it was clear he’d come to Chelsea, he spoke to a couple of them, though he didn’t mention names but he said they had some contact from February up on till this moment.
The excitement of Chelsea supporters about Hakim Ziyech is obvious having watched him excel at Amsterdam and putting up some shows last time he played at Stamford Bridge in the colors of Ajax. “I’d like to bring my style of playing, what I did with Ajax in the last 2-3years, just keeping the same style and hopefully they’d enjoy it, and of course to help the team as much as possible.” he said what to expect of him by the supporters.
“They always told me the Premier League is a tough competition, I know it is but they always talk about that physically not ready and all. But if you see at all competitions, how much players have the same body like me, football is just playing with your head and being smart, and creating spaces, and it’s always in small things.” he said describing how suited he is to life in English football.
Fans and players of Chelsea would not forget in time a left-footed freekick Hakim scored last time he played on the turf of Stamford Bridge, a freekick from a difficult angle that came off the bar onto the face of Kepa Arrizabalaga and into the net, “It was a crazy game. If you were a neutral supporter it was a fantastic game. For us it was a little bit less because we were 4-1 up, but it was a crazy game. I think the neutral fans, that is why they like football, because of moments and games like this.” he said.
“I cannot wait to play and I’m excited. I waited a long time for this moment, but it’s finally here and I will do everything in my power to make everybody happy!” he concluded with a message for Chelsea fans.
It remains to be seen whether he can make everybody happy.