Chelsea star Hakim Ziyech has politely declined to play for Morocco after being included in the squad for upcoming World Cup qualifiers.
In a statement on Instagram, the 28-year-old wrote: “I love my country and playing for the Moroccan national football team has been the honour of my lifetime, so it is with great sadness that I must announce that although the FRMF President today confirmed that I will be pre-selected for the team, I won’t be returning to play for Morocco.
“I’m sorry to disappoint the fans, this was not an easy decision to make, but sadly I feel I have no other choice.
“Despite giving my all to the team over the past 6 years and supporting them my entire life, the leadership continue to release misinformation about me and my commitment to my country.
“Their actions have made it impossible for me to continue to be part of the team.”
“I learned the news about the pre-selection at the same time as everyone else, so I’m releasing this statement to ensure that you hear the truth directly from me.
“Thank you to everyone who has supported me, I wish the team nothing but the best for the future. My focus as a player is at my club Chelsea FC.”
Ziyech announced his retirement from international football in February but was still included on the squad. It’s been reported that the midfielder has had a major fall-out with Morocco’s head coach Vahid Halilhodzic.
Meanwhile, Ziyech’s teammate Noussair Mazraoui has also shared a similar statement, where he refused to be part of the national squad.
While it is good news for the club as Ziyech tends to be injury prone, it is always a matter of pride and a morale boost for players to represent their countries in major tournaments.