Morocco coach Vahid Halilhodzic still would not invite Hakim Ziyech to the national team ‘not even if his name is Messi!’
The Bosnian was once again asked about the possibility of the Chelsea star returning to his squad after the Atlas Lions fell short at the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) quarterfinal, losing to Egypt in extra-time.
Halilhodzic insists the former Ajax star is lazy and is not a good role model in camp to be emulated by young players.
“The players I have selected are the best in the country,” Halilhodzic told reporters after Morocco’s Afcon exit.
“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.”
“After the [Afcon] tournament three years ago, he was the most criticised. He was booed. You mustn’t forget that.”
The last time Ziyech played for Morocco was last June in a friendly against Burkina Faso – and it appears he may not play again for them anytime soon.
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.”